Thursday, April 4, 2013

Rahul Gandhi addresses CII meet, praises India Inc

NEW DELHI, April 4, 2013

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday praised India Inc. for introducing the country to the world.

"When I went to university in 1991, nobody knew India...that is not the case now thanks to you people," he said addressing the annual general meeting of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) in New Delhi. India, Mr. Rahul, said is bursting with optimism and ideas.

The 42-year-old Congress scion, formally addressing a gathering such as this for the first time, said, "We tend to think of India as a nation, but if we go back 100 years, India was actually a energy...a force".

In a veiled criticism of BJP's policies, Mr. Rahul said politics of alienating communities affects growth and the Congress stood for inclusive growth even as he sidestepped questions of his becoming prime minister.

India had witnessed faster economic growth under the UPA because it had greatly lowered tensions among communities and fostered harmony, the Congress vice-president said.

"When you play the politics of alienating communities, you stop the movement of people and ideas. When that happens we all suffer. Businesses suffer and the seeds of disharmony are sown and the dreams of our people are severely disrupted," he said, adding that this damage takes a very long time to reverse.

"It is very dangerous to leave people behind. Inclusive growth is a win—win for everybody," Mr. Rahul said.

Likening India to a movement where a billion people were trying to break the shackles, he said there was a need to use the energy and ideas generated by this exercise to help everybody.

"There are two ways this movement can go. It can go harmoniously or it can go disruptively. The idea of the Congress party is that it should go harmoniously and everybody should move together and happily," he said.

Anger, hatred and prejudice did not contribute to growth, he added.

Sidestepping questions on becoming Prime Minister, he said all this talk was "irrelevant".

"I got press guys asking when you are getting married. Somebody else saying, boss, when are you going to be the Prime Minister. Somebody saying, no your are not going to be PM, somebody say may be you will be PM. There is good possibility.

"These are irrelevant questions. It's all smoke," he said.

Industry chamber CII's annual general meetings over the years have seen many political bigwigs cutting across party lines making an appearance to enunciate their vision for economic growth. Congress president and Mr. Rahul's mother Sonia Gandhi had made at least two showings at the annual conference in the past.

This year's AGM was inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday.
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