(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Ahead of the general elections, Indian National Congress president Rahul Gandhi pledged to transform the country's economic, political and social structure. The Gandhi scion was in Abu Dhabi to attend an event 'The Idea of India' organised by the Indian Business and Professional Group where he said the Congress party, if elected to power, will tackle the issue of unemployment, build basic structures of education and healthcare, and revive the agriculture sector.
To create new jobs, Gandhi said, there was a need to support the small and medium enterprises with access to financial resources of the banking system.
Blog: Rahul Gandhi's visit to the UAE
"We need to end the monopolisation of the banking system to crack the problem of unemployment."
Talking about factors that ail the country, Rahul said two key decisions of the Narendra Modi government - demonetisation and goods and service tax - had derailed the economy and adversely affected lives of the common man. "There was no logic in demonetisation and it resulted in the loss of millions of jobs. But there is not much we can do about that now. But GST in its current form isn't acceptable. The concept was 'one nation, one tax' but today we have five taxes. We can restructure GST and make it much simpler. We are pretty confident that we will move towards one tax."
He blasted the present crony capitalism and pointed out the Rafale deal as the best example.
"People in the defence ministry have clearly stated there is no logic in giving the contract to Anil Ambani," Rahul said.
Rahul liked Narendra Modi's 'Make in India' concept but said he will follow a different route with focus on small and medium business.
'It's not easy to push me'
Rahul said he is a far capable person than when he started. He is ready to challenge pre-conceived ideas and bring change. "I have been in politics for 15 years. I do have good knowledge of how the political system works. I have fought many political battles. I am pretty tough and it's not easy to push me around. I have learnt from my experience. There is also the huge advantage of being someone who comes in as fresh."
He wants to transform the way things are done in India.
"We are on trajectory of being a superpower, we have everything that is required and then we are here fighting among each other. In the 21st century India, it's ridiculous to beat up people because of the state they come from and religion they follow. We need to bring our country together and show everybody what we are capable of."
"We are moving into a world where the US and China are big players. India, if it plays smartly, has potential to go ahead of the Chinese and even the Americans."
On his personal battles with the prime minister, he said: "I never use bad language against the prime minister. But that can't be said the other way. He tends to use pretty bad language."
Rahul noted that the upcoming elections were very crucial.
"There is an assault on Indian institutions. I believe India's success has been based on independence of judiciary, members of parliament and decentralisation of power. It is very dangerous for India to continue in this path. Imposing the will of one person on the people will not work. I am hopeful in 2019 you will see another formation and we will start to release pressure on institutions."
When will Rahul get married?
Rahul said Modi wasn't an inspiration to stay 'single' but he was occupied by the Congress party work. "I am an Indian and do believe in destiny. So it will happen, when it has to happen."
PM Modi is Rahul's teacher
"There is a dedicated system designed to do that. It is run by the BJP and run out of Gujarat. Frankly the truth always wins at the end. You can't keep telling lies forever. The BJP and Modi's attack on me have taught me a lot. In some way he is my teacher."
Is Rahul the next PM
"This is choice of the people of India. Who am I to make such an arrogant statement? This is to be decided by people of India. It's my job to see there's a second narrative that develops in India. I just believe in doing my job."
Rahul's 4 key performance indicators:
1. Win upcoming election
2. Challenge ideas of ruling establishment
3. Not see self as centre of all knowledge
4. Understanding issues in sophisticated manner