Congress president Rahul Gandhi slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre on Saturday in an interaction with students in United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“India has taught me to look at a point of view that is completely different from mine,” he told students at IMT Dubai University on Saturday morning.

“Tolerance is embedded in our culture. But we see a lot of intolerance today which stems from the current government,” said the 48-year-old Congress chief hitting out at the BJP, which came to power in the centre in 2014.

“We do not want a nation where journalists are shot dead and people are beaten up for speaking their minds. This is the real challenge in the coming election,” Gandhi said referring to the number of lynchings in the country in the last for years.

The Congress chief, who arrived in Dubai on Friday, said that there is need to provide opportunities to the youth in India.

“’Brain Drain’, was a 20th century idea. In 21st century people are more mobile and go where real opportunities are. One should make sure that your country provides opportunities,” he said adding that there was a rise in the enrolment of students during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) reign.

He said that Congress is fighting to put reservation for women in national politics.

Commenting on the business environment in the country, Gandhi said that there is need to strengthen the thousands of small and medium-scale enterprises instead of the 10-15 big companies.

“We need to reshape banking system so that SMEs can get financial resources so that they can scale up to become large companies,” he added.

“Healthcare is a huge opportunity for India in global perspective. We are sitting on the biggest genetic resources on the planet and that is what cure and medical health is going to be about in next 10-15 years,” he added.

On Friday, Gandhi addressed the Indian diaspora at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium where he claimed that intolerance has been for the last five years in India.

In a veiled attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gandhi said a country like India cannot be run with “arrogance” and “believing that only one idea was supreme”.

“I was told by his highness (UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum) that this year is the year of tolerance in UAE. But I am sad to say that back home, it has been four-and-a-half years of intolerance,” said Gandhi referring to the Modi-led BJP government which came to power in May 2014.

Condemning Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah’s call for a “Congress free India”, Gandhi said he doesn’t want a “BJP mukt Bharat” but an India which is united.

“Instead of discussing how to defeat unemployment and what our farmers are going through, we are sitting and fighting with each other, threatening and abusing each other. We have to bring India together again regardless of any ideology,” he said.

At the event, Gandhi also slammed the demonetisation and GST holding the policies responsible for destroying millions of jobs across India.

Gandhi also met Al Maktoum.

“This evening I had an excellent meeting with the Vice President & Prime Minister of UAE, @HHShkMohd, the architect of modern Dubai. The bonds between India & the UAE have stood the test of time. I am committed to helping build an even stronger relationship between our countries,” he wrote on Twitter.

 

On his maiden visit to the UAE, Gandhi also interacted with Indian workers at Jebel Ali industrial area and assured them of incorporating their issues in the Congress manifesto.