Rahul pitches for inclusive growth, takes swipe at Modi
BEEHIVE, NOT ELEPHANT Wants each Indian to have a stake in development
NEW DELHI: Rahul Gandhi on Thursday offered a rare insight into his vision for the country in a 75minute speech to industrialists that was spare on specifics but was notable for its chatty style and its use of imagery to emphasise the idea of inclusive growth.
The Congress vice-president, seen by many as potential Prime Minister if the United Progressive Alliance were to return to power in 2014, also appeared to take a dig at Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, a man many feel could be the opposition BJP’s candidate for the country’s most important job.
The 42-year- old Rahul, clad in his trademark white khadi kurta-pyjama, told a Confederation of Indian Industry meeting that the development model of India should be designed on the principles of a “beehive” where the stakes and benefits of growth are evenly spread among the poor and the rich.
But unlike a “beehive which gives every member a voice,” the system in India is “clogged” and the voices of most people are not heard. The answer to these problems lay in empowering the lowest man, he said.
“We have to move away from the idea of the guy on the horse who is going to come charging through and India is going to be fixed. It’s not,” he told the audience — a remark a senior Congressman later told HT was aimed at Modi, who is very popular with industry.
Rahul was silent on two crucial issues on which the UPA has consistently faced flak: corruption and the slowing economy. Critical second-generation economic reforms — seen by many as the UPA’s last hurrah in the remaining months of its second term in power — also went without a mention, apparently to avoid any clash with the government's policy positions.
But walking up and down the stage with a hand microphone to create an atmosphere of informality in a room full of suits, the Gandhi scion built on his pet theme of inclusiveness.
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