Bengaluru, May 10 (IANS) Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday accused the BJP-led government of decimating the country’s foreign policy and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should have raised with China the Doklam issue and its efforts to encircle India.
Addressing a press conference two days ahead of the voting in Karnataka, Gandhi answered questions on a range of issues, including a BJP leader’s remark to dub him “election Hindu” and alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party does not understand the meaning of the word Hindu.
He did not give a direct answer to a query about the move of the Siddaramaiah government to recommend minority status to the Lingayats and said that the Congress seeks to empower communities.
“There is a difference between helping a community express itself, empowering a community. What the BJP is busy doing with the Dalits and with minorities is crushing them, killing them, humiliating them. There is big difference. The Congress perspective is — we help people empower themselves,” he said.
Answering a query on BJP’s chief ministerial candidate B. S. Yeddyurappa calling him an “election Hindu”, Gandhi said he had been visiting temples and other religious institutions.
“For some reason, the BJP does not like this. For some reason, the BJP gets very uncomfortable.
“I don’t think they understand the meaning of the term Hindu because the term is a perspective, a viewpoint. It is something in the heart; it lives with you throughout. That statement is demonstrative of how they view their religion. I do not view my religion like that,” he said.
Gandhi said he had expected Modi to go as a leader of our country and speak to the Chinese about Doklam during his visit to the communist country.
“The Prime Minister went to China after the Chinese entered Doklam (Sector in northeast) but did not mention a word about Doklam. He didn’t say a word,” he said.
Gandhi said Modi had a conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping “without an agenda”.
“Are you telling me there is no agenda? There is an agenda called Doklam. There is an agenda called Maldives. There is an agenda called Nepal.
Of course, there is an agenda. What does he mean by going to China and having discussion without an agenda. We are surrounded on all sides. That is the agenda,” he said.
“Our foreign policy has been completely decimated. And it is because the Prime Minister views foreign policy as an individual exercise,” the Congress chief said, adding that there were huge forces involved and Modi needs to carry people with him.
Citing a video clipping showing Chinese troops marching during the Pakistan Day military parade, Gandhi asked the Modi government if it knew “what it tells you”.
“Let me tell you, in my view… China is a competitive power, China is also a rising power. We are in an environment where we have to manage our foreign policy with extreme care. Fundamental blunders are being made, fundamental blunders,” Gandhi said.
“I see a complete change in the position of Russia with regard to India. I see the Russians supplying Pakistan with weapons which they have never done before. So, a disaster has been created in the foreign policy. And it is dangerous for this country,” he added.