The Indian general elections this year will see a new government which will “release pressure” on institutions that are “under assault”, Indian National Congress president Rahul Gandhi said on Saturday.
Addressing the business community in Abu Dhabi on day two of his UAE visit, Gandhi said: “I believe India’s success has been based on the independence of judiciary, members of parliament and decentralisation of power. It is very dangerous for India to continue on the path it is now. Imposing the will of one person on all the people will not work.”
Reacting to the announcement of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) in Uttar Pradesh joining forces for the elections, Gandhi said his party may have “a surprise or two” up its sleeve. “I have tremendous respect for the leaders of the BSP and the SP, and they have every right to do what they want to,” he told a Press conference in Dubai at the end of his visit.
When asked about his party’s stand on the Sabarimala issue, Gandhi said it was not an open and shut case. “I see validity in both sides of the argument. I believe that tradition needs to be protected, and I also see validity in the argument that women must be allowed to enter the temple.”
The Nehru-Gandhi scion said he would deliver on all promises made during the election campaign. “I am not Narendra Modi … I am not a liar. I don’t like making false promises. I don’t like saying that we would deposit cash in every Indian’s account or give two million jobs to the public,” Gandhi said.
Talking about the long-standing demand of non-resident Indians for the right to vote, the leader said it would be unlikely this year as it would need “legislation and a lot of conversation”.
When asked what his relationship with Pakistan would be, Gandhi said he wanted peace, but would not tolerate “any kind of violence carried out against innocent Indians”.
Responding to a question on what he was taking back from his maiden UAE visit, the Congress leader said: “I am taking back the idea of tolerance, one that has been attacked in our own country.”