Speaking to scores of women students at Stella Maris College in Chennai on Wednesday, Congress President Rahul Gandhi asked, “How many times have you seen the Prime Minister of India standing in the middle of 3,000 women like this? How many times have you seen the Prime Minister of India like this, being open to any question from anybody?”
Rahul Gandhi used the almost all-women audience to highlight the lack of women in high-ranking roles, during his speech on Wednesday on the campaign trail before the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. He promised, if the party came into power in 2019, to solve that.
“Frankly, I don’t see enough women in leadership positions,” he said, after which he assured that the Congress would pass the Women’s Reservation Bill to ensure more women are represented in the state legislatures and the Parliament – a long standing promise of several political parties in India, that has not yet seen the light of day.
However, Rahul also promised that 33% of government jobs at all levels will be reserved for women if the Congress comes to power. He stopped short of mentioning potential reservations for women candidates fielded by his own party though.
The session largely involved the students asking various questions to the Congress president, who urged them to make him “uncomfortable” with challenging questions. One student asked about the investigation into Robert Vadra, his brother-in-law.
“The government has every right and should investigate every single person,” he said. However, he went on to say that the law was being applied selectively, bringing up the Rafale controversy and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s alleged involvement.
Rahul was also asked about his now-infamous hug with Prime Minister Modi last year. “I learnt from Mr Modi. I can’t hate Mr Modi. Can you hate people who teach you things? Your biggest teachers are the people who attack you, the people who abuse you. They are your biggest teachers,” he said.
“If they give you hate, and you give them hate, you learn nothing. If they give you hate, and you hug them. You learn a lot,” he added.