Rahul pitches for in­clu­sive growth, takes swipe at Modi

BEE­HIVE, NOT ELEPHANT Wants each In­dian to have a stake in devel­op­ment

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

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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