Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that had he been Prime Minister, he would focus more on creating jobs than purely “growth-centric” policies.
“I would move from just a growth-centric idea to a job-centric idea. I would say, we need growth but we are going to do everything to push production and job creation and value addition,” he said in response to a question during an online discussion.
The interaction, during which he was asked about which policies he would prioritise if he were elected as Prime Minister, was part of Mr Gandhi’s discussion with former US Secretary of State Nicholas Burns, a professor at the country’s Harvard Kennedy School.
“Currently if look at our growth, the type of relationship that should be there between our growth and job creation, between value addition, between production is not there. The Chinese lead value addition… I have never met a Chinese leader who says to me ‘I’ve got a job-creation problem’,” Mr Gandhi said.
“I am not interested in 9 per cent economic growth if I don’t see job numbers right next to it,” he added.
He also alleged that a “wholesale capture” of India’s institutional framework by the ruling dispensation has changed the paradigm in which opposition parties operate post-2014 as the institutions that are supposed to support a fair political fight do not do so anymore.
Mr Gandhi said to fight elections, there is a need for institutional structures, protection by the judicial system, reasonably free media, financial parity and a set of institutional structures that allow his party to operate as a political party, but all this is not there.
“In Assam, the gentleman who is running our campaign (for the Assembly polls) has been sending me videos of BJP candidates running around with voting machines in their cars,” the former Congress chief said.
“He is screaming at the top of his voice saying look, I have got a really serious problem here. But there is nothing going on in the national media,” he added.
“It is not just the Congress, the BSP is not winning an election, the SP is not winning an election, the NCP is not winning an election. To fight elections, I need institutional structures, I need a judicial system that protects me, I need a media that is reasonably free, I need financial parity, I need a set of institutional structures that allow me to operate as a political party. I do not have them,” Mr Gandhi said.
He said the way the BJP is behaving, a lot of people are getting discontented very fast and there is a need to bring them together.