Rahul Gandhi said this at Stanford University in California on Wednesday.
Referring to his disqualification from Lok Sabha as a Member of Parliament (MP), the Congress leader said: “I don’t think when I joined politics in 2004, I ever imagined what I see going on in our country. It was way outside the way I imagined. To be the first person to be given the first maximum sentence on defamation and maximum sentence to get disqualified. I didn’t imagine that something like this was possible.”
“But then I think it’s actually given me a huge opportunity, a much bigger opportunity I would have in Parliament. That is the way politics works,” he said.
Rahul Gandhi was disqualified as an MP on March 23, a day after he was convicted in a defamation case over his ‘Modi surname case’ by a Surat court.
In his Stanford address, the Congress leader said opposition in India is struggling and the drama started months ago.
Hitting out at the government, Rahul Gandhi said: “I think the drama started really about six months ago. We were struggling, how the entire opposition is struggling in India. Huge financial dominance, institutional capture, we were struggling to fight for the democratic rights in the country.”
“Then we decided … None of the system worked … democracy isn’t about opposition, it’s about sacred institutions that support the opposition. Those institutions by the capture certainly want to change the role it is supposed to play. So we decided to do something quite strange,” said Rahul Gandhi, adding that then he along with his party leaders just decided to walk across the country (through Bharat Jodo Yatra).
“And we never imagined for a second what would happen when we walked across the country. What would happen not just politically, but in terms of the type of response we got, what would happen to us when we walked across our country.
“We started with 125 people … and it fundamentally transformed the way we think about our country, our people, and politics.
“Lot of people asked me what are the lessons learnt from it. And for a long time I couldn’t find an answer … I have picked up so much information about the country and what needs to be done. It was a beautiful experience of my life,” he said, talking about the Bharat Jodo Yatra, which began from Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari on September 7 last year and concluded in Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar on January 30 after covering a distance of almost 4,000 km.