Asserting that law must not be applied selectively, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said if his brother-in-law Robert Vadra can be probed so can Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his alleged role in the Rafale deal. He also said economic growth is directly related to the mood of the nation and one cannot expect it to happen in a negative and fearful atmosphere.
The Congress will change the mood of the country and make people feel happy and empowered, the Congress chief said while addressing women students at a college here. Gandhi, who asked students to refer to him as Rahul, said the law must apply to everybody and not be applied selectively.
He said this in response to a question on Vadra, who is being probed in connection with a money laundering case related to purchase of assets abroad and a land case in Rajasthan's Bikaner district. During his informal interaction with the students, he also brought up the issue of the Rafale deal and reiterated his allegations about the pricing of the aircraft and the process.
"I will be the first person to say it... Investigate Robert Vadra but also investigate Prime Minister Narendra Modi," he said. Modi is a "corrupt" man, he bypassed negotiations and ran parallel negotiations on the Rafale deal, Gandhi alleged while responding to the question.
The Congress chief said the prime minister should have the guts to face the media and asked why Modi was "hiding". The BJP and the government have repeatedly rejected the Congress's allegation of corruption in the Rafale fighter jet deal.
He also alleged that the BJP's idea is to capture every institution of the country and run them from Nagpur, the RSS headquarters. Gandhi said the Congress would pass the women's reservation bill if it comes to power.
"Don't see enough women in leadership positions. You cannot have women in power in India until the attitude towards them changes," he told the cheering crowd. In response to a question, he said he had learnt the lessons of humility and love from his mother Sonia Gandhi.
He asked the gathering, "Did you like demonetisation?" When the audience answered, "No", he said, "I think it's pretty clear the damage demonetisation did. PM should have taken your advice."
Gandhi, who asked the students to challenge him and "make him uncomfortable", also questioned whether the prime minister could stand in a large audience and answer people's questions. Referring to Modi's policies on Jammu and Kashmir, he said these were setting fire to the state and blamed the Centre for not strategically and systematically handling terrorism.
As soon as Modi assumed power, he made a "huge mistake" of forging an alliance with PDP just for the sake of power. "Today Narendra Modi ji's policies are actually setting fire to Kashmir," he said, alleging that it was his policies that were allowing Pakistan to carry out terrorist acts in India.
Gandhi underscored the need to engage the people of Kashmir and bring them "on our side." The prime minister's policies "pushes the people away so you cannot fight terrorism with one off gestures," he said.
Noting that it was "our responsibility" to stop the neighbouring country from carrying out terror strikes and save our people, Gandhi said, "It is not good enough to say that 45 CRPF men died and now we will do something." He sought to know why the attack (in Pulwama) was not stopped in the first place.
Forty CRPF personnel were killed and five injured on February 14 in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish-e-Mohammad suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying explosives into their bus in Pulwama district. Claiming that the Congress pursued a policy of systematic and strategic approach in Jammu and Kashmir, he said the NDA government had not followed a similar policy.
"We actually crushed terrorism," he said and referred to the "drastic fall" in the number of soldiers and people killed during UPA's tenure. The Congress followed a multi-pronged approach when it came to power in 2004 and toed both systematic and strategic lines, he said.
"And it was successful," he said adding it led to diplomatic isolation of Pakistan. Gandhi also called his party's minimum income guarantee scheme a revolutionary idea.