Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi calls on Indians to enter

Harris Marley

Global Courant

Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi criticized the country’s leadership in a speech on Sunday, calling on Indians in the US and at home to stand up for democracy and the Indian constitution.

Gandhi, a harsh critic of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was expelled from parliament, accused Modi and his Bharativa Janata Party (BJP) of dividing the country and failing to focus on key issues such as unemployment and education.

“Being strange to people, being arrogant, being violent, these are not Indian values,” Gandhi, 52, told a crowd of about 700 people at the Indian Overseas Congress USA event at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. He spoke just after a minute’s silence in recognition of a massive train derailment in eastern India that killed 275 people and injured hundreds more.

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Gandhi has toured three cities across the United States, including speaking engagements at Stanford University in California and the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

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Meanwhile, leaders of the US Congress have invited Modi to address a joint session of Congress later this month. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and other leaders announced the speech as an “opportunity to share your vision for India’s future and speak about the global challenges our countries face.”

The grandson of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi is a member of the Indian National Congress party. He is regarded as Modi’s main challenger in the upcoming 2024 elections.

Indian politician Rahul Gandhi speaks at the Javits Center in New York on June 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

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“Modern India cannot exist without our constitution and our democracy,” he said on Sunday. He also pushed for a stronger partnership between India and the US to offset China’s influence.

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“One of the things we have to think about is the bridge between India and the United States,” he said. “How can we compete with the challenge the Chinese have brought to the table,” he asked, referring specifically to issues such as mobility and the world’s energy supply.

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The Congress Party defeated the BJP in recent state elections in the states of Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka, victories that followed a string of defeats in state elections after Modi became India’s prime minister in 2014. Gandhi now holds no official position in his party. He relinquished the post of party chairman following his heavy defeats at the hands of Modi’s Hindu nationalist party in the 2019 national elections, though his supporters hope the more recent results will have an impact on the 2024 national elections, which are likely to be held before May. are held.

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Gandhi suffered a serious setback in March when a court convicted him in a criminal libel case for mocking Modi’s surname, a decision that led to his being expelled from parliament. He could lose his election to a parliamentary seat for the next eight years if an appeals court does not overturn his conviction. The conviction came after a speech he gave in 2019.

Gandhi, who is not related to Mahatma Gandhi, also invoked the name of the slain Indian leader several times during his speech, praising his model of non-violence.

Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi calls on Indians to enter

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