Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi urges US audience to stand up for ‘modern India’

NEW YORK (AP) – Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi criticized the country’s leadership in a speech on Sunday and called on Indians in the US and at home to stand up for democracy and the Indian constitution.

Gandhi, a harsh critic of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was expelled from parliament, accused Modi and his Bharativa Janata Party (BJP) of dividing the country and not focusing on important issues such as unemployment and education.

“Being mean to people, being arrogant, being violent, these are not Indian values,” the 52-year-old Gandhi told about 700 people at the Indian Overseas Congress USA event at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. He spoke shortly after a minute’s silence and recognized a Massive train derailment in East India that killed 275 and injured hundreds more.

Gandhi has been on a three-city tour of the United States, including lecturing at Stanford University in California and the National Press Club in Washington, DC

Meanwhile, the leaders of the US Congress have done so invited Modi to address a joint session of Congress Later this month. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and other leaders described the address as “an opportunity to share your vision for India’s future and to speak about the global challenges facing both of our countries.” “.

Political cartoons about world leaders

Political cartoons


Rahul Gandhi, grandson of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, is a member of the Indian National Congress Party. He is considered Modi’s biggest challenger in the upcoming 2024 election.

“Modern India cannot exist without our constitution and our democracy,” he said on Sunday. He also called for a stronger India-US partnership to offset China’s influence.

“One of the things we need to think about is the bridge between India and the United States,” he said. “How can we compete with the challenge that the Chinese are posing to us,” he asked, referring in particular to questions of mobility and global energy supply.

The Congress Party defeated the BJP in the recent state elections in the states of Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka. These victories followed a string of defeats in state elections after Modi became India’s prime minister in 2014. Gandhi now holds no official office in his party. He resigned as party leader following his heavy defeats by Modi’s Hindu nationalist party in the 2019 national election, although his supporters hope the more recent results will have implications for the country’s 2024 national election, which is expected to be held before May become.

Gandhi suffered a severe setback in March when a court convicted him of a criminal case of defamation for mocking Modi’s surname, which led to his expulsion from parliament. He could lose his candidacy for a seat in Parliament for the next eight years if an appeals court doesn’t overturn his conviction. The conviction came in connection with a speech he gave in 2019.

Gandhi, who is not related to Mahatma Gandhi, also mentioned the name of the assassinated Indian leader several times in his speech and praised his model of non-violence.

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