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Salil Tripathi @saliltripathi
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Light drizzle, umpires have inspected the wicket and the play will start shortly. #LSERahulGandhi. ⁦@SAsiaLSE
I see lord Karan Billimoria. I wonder if there will be cobra on the tap this evening. #LSERahulGandhi @SAsiaLSE
LSE isn’t offering a degree in Entire Political Science, I’m reliably informed, @peeleraja. #LSERahulGandhi @SAsiaLSE
Now a full 10 minutes late. Feels like it is an indian event. #LSERahulGandhi
#WaitingForRahul: we are told he is 5-10 minutes late. London traffic at this hour can be bad even with light drizzle. They should show Trent Bridge test highlights to pass the time. @SAsiaLSE #LSERahulGandhi
NSUIA head says they’re non-partisan. Includes Indian alumni, students and professionals in UK. includes Indian origin folks. Asks for balanced conversations where people listen.
That’s a good point. I’ve personally felt that one reason @RahulGandhi ends up having these sessions abroad is because he is more likely to get heard without noise. That says a lot about current political discourse in India. My tuppence.
She says they had Ramdev doing international yoga day. So clearly they’re non partisan.
Ok full 32 minutes late. Better start!
This is bring live-streamed.
RG apologises for being late. Says conversation back home is acrimonious. Disagreement is ok; not necessary to hate people. As youngsters you will meet those you disagree with. Starting point is to look at works from their perspective.
You find that perspectives you disagree with are valuable and exist because of circumstances the other person is undergoing and there’s always scope for conversation. #LSERahulGandhi
You see foundations of potential conflict worldwide. India with our non violent ideas, compassion, complexity, we have a role to play. #LSERahulGandhi
India is much too big and refined to be on this or that side, he said in response to a Q today. Reminds me of national press club in US,where a journalist asked his grandmother Indira gandhi - does India tilt? Which way? She said - we stand upright. Touché!
@MukulikaB asks - what do you bring to politics other than family? He mentions the violence he has experienced through people killed; loves the country and wants to help the underprivileged; and he has taken blows.
Im paraphrasing, not quoting direct.
He wants to reach out to a wider public. Says he understands that my view alone should not drive what 1.3 bn people think. My job is to enable the farmer realise his vision; not for me to tell him what to do.
He comes across as well meaning and earnest. Humble too. Not assertive. (My tentative view).
There’s a full grown crisis - jobs - and govt is not accepting it. India’s job generation is low. They’ll come from SMEs, revitalising farms, low cost homes.
India has to accept there is a problem. Pushing democracy further, making sure women come into decision making. I’m an enabler and service provider. India has energy we have to enable it.
Would you implement swaminathan report? @MukulikaB asks. RG says India needs MSP, govt aiding during floods. It also needs support during drought. And productivity element. How do we inject tech. Support the farmer.
If the intention is right the person understands. Is Indian agriculture building India or is it w drain? Current govt thinks if farmers can’t grow, we will buy from elsewhere.
Secularism - two big transformations are taking place. Internal migration in China and in India, the transformation. We at more organic. What we’ve achieved is because all Indians are part of it. All of India has sacrificed ++
We can’t now start excluding people - minorities or Dalits. Ther shouldn’t be any Indian who feels his voice isn’t heard. We’ve come far. Nobody should feel excluded.
Next election will be BJP vs entire opposition. Everyone in opposition and some alliance partners feel systematic attack on institutions and encroachment, 4 judges of SC, media threats, so there’s a feeling that institutions need to be defended.
RSS will be in the other side of that debate.
Congress is an old idea, not a new idea. Same as RSS. these ideas have been in combat for 1000 years. RSS centralises; congress decentralises. We have the idea embedded deep. Non violence is deep inside them.
That’s a huge strength of congress but weakness is congress doesn’t express I effectively. BJP is clear. There’s no confusion. RSS has spent time working on it. Gandhi did that for us (I think he means congress). But congress hasn’t kept pace.
When a strong person beats the weak, you want to reach out and help the weak. That’s congress. Over time congress has closed, it needs to now expand and open. And be precise where it stands
My view: that’s an admirable admission of failure. But what went wrong? To what extent it’s current leadership is to be blamed for this failure? What made the other idea more seductive and what will congress do to challenge it? Seems he isn’t clear. Says there was ++
Difference among generations. Mentions gehlot and pilot in Rajasthan. But what’s his choice? He refers to Gandhi’s trusteeship. He wants to bridge these gaps. How?
In Parliament today he was in a room from where India was run. And he felt stunned now 10-12 indian mps are helping run Britain from that room.
Says English is not our language. (Really?? I think it is as Indian a language as others, but that’s my digression).
What sandwich you had at subway last night? @MukulikaB asks. And he said he didn’t eat as flight was delayed.
She asks him about 84. Says MMS spoke for us. Says I’m a victim of violence. I get disturbed with anyone being hurt. Condemn it 100%. Want punishment against anyone who has committed it. (Applause).
I’ve seen people I lived being killed. I saw the person who killed my father being killed. When I saw prabhakaran lying and humiliated, I felt sorry for him. I saw my father in his place. And his children in my place. Most people don’t understand violence. - RG.
How will congress deal with it in communal context under your stewardship given its own complicity? RG says the essence of our ideology is non violence.
How will pm be chosen in 19? He says - we are defending onslaught on Indian constitution. Me and opposition are defending nature of Indian state. First priority is to defeat BJP and stop divisions and poison. But we have to remove BJP First then we will think of other issues.
Firm, good response, spoken with conviction. He says some parties are not aligned anymore with BJP. We will work with them. Now @MukulikaB turns to audience. Only students can ask.
L Joshi from Warwick -why agriculture? Why not tech? She asks. RG: we won’t exclude tech. We have to take entire structure. It isn’t either or.
Loved, not lived.
Agriculture is interwoven with other sectors, he says. Fastest growth in India is in rural areas. Because MNREGA and loan waivers fired off economy. So companies sold to rural areas. It is connected.
Why study liberal arts? When you add things together value is much more. We focus on agriculture because it is struggling and weak.
Tom Wilkinson of LSE PHD student. How do you make sense of dynastic politics. RG: I do come from a family. It helps people identify me. I’ve fought 3 elections. So term dynasty isn’t precise. I’m elected.
I take punches I react and I know type of things to be done. So what you bring to table. You’ve to judge it after listening to me.
LSE student (couldn’t get name). Asks about intolerance. Was Jinnah right? RG- no. We have had more Muslims in India, and embraces more people than in Pakistan. But I understand why issues are. Raised. But negotiation india has done with its people is better than Pakistan has
Original idea of India will win. (Applause).
CEC and RBI head should be appointed by parliament. Do you agree? RG asks are you proud of debate in Parliament? Why is it so low? You have experienced politicians but level of conversation is so poor.
What happened? Someone says in 50s no opposition. RG says today MPS don’t have power. Pm makes laws. It means we have to make MPs more powerful. Give them power and quality or debate will improve.
Power has shifted away from MPs he says.
You have to empower MPs. Two last Qs. Another LSE student. If you are pm how will you empower youth. And transparency in funding? RG says bonds are opaque and Wrong.
Youth - if you’re interested we will recruit you. He tells the young student.
Ask non LSE students to raise hands, I suggest. Too many LSE students have asked.
Have you ever been wrong in judgments? Yes. Many times. That’s how I learn. RG says he thought simply improving economic position of a person will result in reduction in caste thinking. It didn’t happen. I can give multiple examples. If you look at things in depth
You find mistakes you made. But if you think you are never wrong then you are not human.
Another example. A man came to me and talked and said I can’t believe I’m sitting here. Why? Because he was Punjab mla. 25 years ago I’d have killed you. He was in militancy. And I realised the power of conversation. When someone hates you it is because of misunderstanding.
People are genuinely nice. Conversation is important. Last question - student leader. Cong strategy for Rajasthan? RG - ask Sachin and Ashok gehlot. We have ideas on free medicine and healthcare. Good for whole country. (No talk of lynching? Surprised he won’t speak of hatred).
Fight corruption? How? He says RTI which is being undermined.
Also Lokpal and decentralisation.
Rafale is the key. HAL has made mig sukhoi jaguar experience and no debt. But GOI changed the deal. Why? 126 planes to 36? Plane price rose three times. Anil Ambani who has made no planes and formed a week before and has 45000 crote debt. Why not picked up?
Student from kings college. What do you agree with BJP? I said the day he signs women’s reservation bill in law we will support. We also said that we will cooperate in gst that works. But he said we aren’t understand. They have developed a very destructive gst.
We reach out but they don’t. The way they treat weaker sections it is black and white. But other ideas we can support. Final question kings student. When will we see female pm again? RG I am not a soothsayer. But many more women leaders at many levels.
I love cambridge. But I should have been here at LSE. you’re pretty brilliant he says.
One student shouts - thank you for unscripted Mann ki baat. touché!!
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