New Delhi: Congress will grant special status to Andhra Pradesh if it comes to power in 2019, party president Rahul Gandhi said during a speech to the Indian diaspora in Berlin.
“The government of India has made a commitment to grant special status to Andhra Pradesh. This commitment cannot be taken lightly. I assure the people of Andhra Pradesh that once the Congress comes to power in 2019, I will give you special status,” Gandhi said.
Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “undermining governance” in non-BJP-ruled states, Gandhi said, “The Prime Minister tends to support BJP-ruled states and slow down the governance in states ruled by other parties.”
Taking questions from the audience during his interaction with the Indian Overseas Congress in Berlin, Gandhi also spoke about his famous hug to PM.
“Lies don’t travel faster than truth. For instance, Mr Modi has been constantly attacking me and other opposition parties… calling me names. But tell me, did all that travel faster or my hug to him? Affection is a very powerful thing. If you genuinely feel it, everyone understands it. They are frustrated with their own lives that’s why they’re behaving like this. I’ll help them the moment we come to power,” Gandhi said.
Gandhi also accused the BJP-RSS of spreading hatred and attacking the independence of institutions. “For the first time, four Supreme Court judges have spoken out publicly. Normally, public goes to courts for justice, this time judges came to the public for justice. The judges said they aren’t being allowed to work. So who is not allowing them to work? It is the government of India, the RSS, the Prime Minister,” Gandhi said.
He added that opposition leaders “are not going to allow BJP and RSS to destroy our institutions, whether it is the Election Commission or the Supreme Court, or other courts in the country.”
Making his pitch for 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Gandhi said, “Healthcare, education and competing with China in the manufacturing sector are going to be our priorities.”
The Congress chief was accompanied by party leaders, including Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s wife Preneet Kaur, who has been an MP and a Union minister in the past.
Gandhi, who was on a two-day visit to Germany, is now headed to the UK, where he is scheduled to address the students of the London School of Economics and then the Indian Overseas Congress a day after.