Rahul Gandhi discusses the overall essence of democracy and what’s left of it in India with Nicholas Burns
On Friday, senior Congress leader, Rahul Gandhi held a virtual discussion with Nicholas Burns, American scholar and former US Under Secretary of State, over the essence of democracy in general and the version of it currently practiced in India. Congress leader, while sharing his viewpoint questioned Burns, the Professor at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, why the US was not pointing out the depreciating value of Indian democracy. His question came as Burns spoke about democracy in comparison to the “harsh vision” offered by China and Russia.
Rahul Gandhi said, “I don’t hear anything from the US establishment about what is happening here in India. If you are saying ‘partnership of democracies’, what is your view on what is going on here? I fundamentally believe that America is a profound idea, the idea of freedom, the way it is encapsulated in your constitution, it’s a very powerful idea. But you have to defend that idea. And that is the real question.”
Congress leader slammed the ruling BJP party for eroding the true essence of Indian democracy and its related institution with its stifling rule. He emphasised that the entire paradigm shifted Post-2014, the year which marked BJP’s accession to power.
“We are in a paradigm where the institutions that are supposed to protect us, do not protect us anymore. And the institutions that are supposed to support a fair political fight, don`t do so anymore,” he said.
The Congress leader added, “To fight elections, I need institutional structures, I need a judicial system that protects me, I need a media that is reasonably free, I need financial parity, I need a set of institutional structures that allow me to operate as a political party. I do not have them.”
Taking a shot Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and its handling of affairs with China, the Congress MP from Kerala said, “China is occupying Indian territory as we speak and this is because China sees a “weakened India”, an India which is internally divided. I am absolutely convinced that a strong India with a clear strategy will have no problem in dealing with China.”
Highlighting BJP’s mismanagement of both national and international issues as compared to Congress, he said, “When we were in the government, we had a feedback system which enabled effective governance. That feedback system is not there now. The current regime’s style of governance is centralized… it’s the idea that believes that centralized power understands everything.”