By H R Rao
(Eds: updating with more quotes)
London, Aug 24 (PTI) Congress president Rahul Gandhi today likened the RSS to the Islamist group Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world and alleged that the outfit is trying to "change" the nature of India and "capture" its institutions.
The Muslim Brotherhood is the oldest political Islamist group in the Arab world. It is not allowed to operate as an official political party in some Arab countries.
Answering questions at the International Institute for Strategic Studies here, Gandhi accused the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) of trying to change the nature of India and capture India's institutions.
"We are fighting an organisation RSS which is trying to change the nature of India," he said.
"The RSS is trying to change the nature of India. Other parties haven't tried to capture India's institutions.
"The RSS' idea is similar to the idea of Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world," Gandhi told the audience at the London-based think-tank.
There is no other organisation in India which wants to capture India's institutions, he said.
When the Congress Party comes to power, Samajwadi (Party) comes to power, the BSP comes to power or the DMK comes, they don't try to attack and capture India's institutions, he said.
"What we are dealing with is a completely new idea. It is an old idea being reborn and it is similar to the idea that exists in the Arab World with the Muslim Brotherhood - that one ideology should run through every single institution - one idea should crush all other ideas," Gandhi said.
"That is why you see the response - four Supreme Court judges come out saying we are not allowed to do our work. You see Mr Raghuram Rajan (former RBI governor) expressing his shock at demonetisation.
"You can see India's institutions come down one by one and realisation that we are fighting now something that they are trying to destroy, the modern ideology," Gandhi said.
That requires a response that is more inclusive. A response has to include everybody who values India's achievements, everybody who values Indian institutions, more open to conversation, more open to building bridges. One does fear what is happening in India, the Congress president said.
"When you say something like India punches above its weight to be blunt the West did not believe in India in 1947. The West said India can not succeed as a democracy and India proved the West wrong.
"Thousands and thousands of people worked to build the institutions, where their businesses, courts are now under attack," Gandhi added.
He also criticised the demonetisation of the Modi government banning the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 bank notes.
The demonetisation was announced on November 8, 2016.
"The idea of demonetisation came directly from the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), bypassed the Finance Minister and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and was planted in Prime Minister's head," the Congress president said.
Modi had claimed that the demonetisation would help curtail the shadow economy and crack down on the use of illicit and counterfeit cash to fund illegal activity and terrorism.
Gandhi said India's economic power lies in millions of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as they create jobs.
"When one bypasses the entire institutional structure and decides to demonetise the nation, that is not maximising India's power," he said. PTI HSR SMJ CPS AKJ GSN CPS