Talking to the students, Gandhi said that he did not have any hatred for anyone in his mind and that Modi was no exception. As Gandhi said so, the students present there started chanting, “Modi… Modi… Modi…”
Gandhi said, “Even though Narendra Modi hated me, I have no hatred for him in my mind.” Even after this, the students did not relent. Gandhi tried to handle the situation by saying “no problem”. “I have no problem with this,” he said.
This is how a self-confessed Narendra Modi fan described the scene on Twitter:
When even SCRIPTED Questions go in favour of PM Modi ?? Rahul Gandhi in Pune Students Dialogue says : "I LOVE Mr. Narendra Modi" AND The Student CROWD AGREES & ERUPTS INTO "MODI MODI" CHANTS ? ??? pic.twitter.com/fwk6BUcgag
— Narendra Modi fan (@narendramodi177) April 5, 2019
Gandhi explained what he felt were the issues before the country: the state of the economy, unemployment and demonetisation. Also, he talked about the Congress’s promise of giving Rs 72,000 to five crore poor people. He said his party would fulfil the promise if brought to power.
The Congress promise of the dole has met with scepticism of several economists like Swaminathan A Aiyar and Surjit S Bhalla, much as the party claims that its manifesto was prepared in consultation with economists like Raghuram Rajan and Abhijit Banerjee.
Gandhi said 22 lakh government posts were vacant, adding most vacancies in State government jobs to the total for an impact. “We need to build infrastructure for education and health services,” he said.
Gandhi said, “If our government comes to power, 33% of the seats in Parliament and State Assemblies will be reserved for women.” Not only that, he said, there should be a retirement age for leaders, trying to appropriate the Modi government’s self-imposed rule of discontinuing nomination and appointment of BJP leaders who have crossed the age of 75. In fact, sources in the BJP say Modi himself will retire from active politics when he turns 75.
Politicians must retire after 60 years, Gandhi said. He gave his opinion on several issues during the question-answer session with the students.
Gandhi’s talk was interspersed time and again with “Modi, Modi” chants. The following are the four reasons why they hooted the Congress president.
- Most students were not convinced when Gandhi said he did not hate Modi.
- Many doubted the sincerity of the promises made in the Congress manifesto.
- Some did not believe the proposed schemes were feasible.
- The rest said while interrupting Gandhi that Modi was offering better, workable welfare schemes.