Dubai, Jan 11: Indian National Congress supremo Rahul Gandhi's maiden public event in the UAE witnessed immense fanfare and made nearly 30,000 crowd feel excited and hopeful for the future of India. Thousands waited outside as gates were closed after the stadium was filled. There was a massive tailback around the area even an hour after Gandhi addressed the crowd as people made their way out of the stadium area in their cars and school buses that ferried large groups from other emirates.
During his 25-minute speech at Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Rahul Gandhi spoke at length about NRI contributions, tolerance, problems faced by India and the upcoming Congress electoral manifesto.
He started his speech by thanking all the UAE rulers and spoke about his first interaction with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
India should learn from UAE
Gandhi said India has a lot to learn from the UAE on how to resolve differences, how to solve transport problems and empower women. "Instead, we are busy fighting and focusing on our differences. Like the UAE, we must learn to operate as one nation and not as different states. Every Indian must say I am an Indian first and then someone else," he said.
He lauded the efforts made by the Indian diaspora for giving their blood and sweat to help build the UAE. He asked all non-resident Indians (NRIs) to support him to build a better India.
As the UAE marks 2019 as the Year of Tolerance, Gandhi expressed his sadness over the last four-and-a-half years of India that witnessed several incidents of "intolerance". He added that non-violence is embedded in Indians' DNA.
He said: "The bridge between the UAE and India is not a new one. It has been there for hundreds of years and it has been successful due to the values of tolerance and humility."
Contribution of NRIs
Gandhi hailed the contributions made by the NRI community from across the globe, saying that they have played a tremendous role in the country's development. From the father of India Mahatma Gandhi to former prime minister Manmohan Singh, and Overseas Indian Congress chairman Sam Pitroda, all these NRIs have contributed immensely in making India to what it is today.
2 major issues of India
Gandhi highlighted the two major issues India is facing today - unemployment and mistreatment of farmers. He said: "A billion people are facing problems of unemployment caused by Goods and Services Tax and demonetisation." He said India has the potential to compete with China in manufacturing and manpower. He also said American leaders have said India and China are the two biggest threats to the Western world in terms of economic powers.
He called for a second green revolution in India and said farmers have a bleak future in the present situation. He said: "We have to put our fruits and vegetables in every single plate in the world."
The upcoming Congress pre-electoral manifesto will be an expression of billions of Indians from across the world who want their voices to be heard, to be part of the decision making process, he added. "We know you want to be represented in India and we will do that for you. We will ensure that your voice is embedded in our manifesto."
Dialogues of Rahul Gandhi
*My doors are open for you (NRIs in UAE). Tell me how I can help. I am at your service. We are facing an electoral battle in 2019. We will win that battle and bring everyone
*In the UAE we are celebrating the Year of Tolerance, while back home in India, there has been four-and-a-half years of intolerance
*Today in India, my beloved country is being divided. I want NRIs to hear this. It is being divided for political benefit. Divided on religion. The poor and rich are being divided," Rahul Gandhi said in Dubai.
*The first task we have to do. Every single Indian is responsible all over the world. We have to bring India together again. We have to be one again. India cannot be divided. We are fighting one another, abusing one another. Doesn’t make sense.
*Till the day I die my doors, ears and heart are open for you. You will always have space. Some want a Congress Mukt Bharat. I don’t want a BJP Mukt Bharat.
*Call for a united India. Not a divided country. Tolerance, brotherhood and multiple religions. That’s India.
*Non-violence is embedded in the DNA of India. Mahatma Gandhi picked up the idea of non-violence from all religions. Violence doesn’t help achieve anything.
I am at your service; tell me how I can help; we will win LS polls: Rahul to NRIs in UAE