Rahul Gandhi: Have not seen a woman in RSS shakha

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday asked why women are not seen at RSS shakhas, and claimed that the organisation believes that as long as “women remain silent, they are good”. On day two of the second leg of his Navsarjan Yatra across central Gujarat, Rahul targetted the RSS and said, “You know who the parent organisation of the BJP is? It is the RSS. It is their idea that as long as women remain silent, they are good. The moment a woman opens her mouth, they want to shut her up.”

He said, “Have you seen a single woman at an RSS shakha wearing shorts? I have never seen any. Why aren’t women allowed in RSS? They (BJP) have so many women in the party, but I have not seen a single woman in the RSS. What mistake have they made?”

The Gujarat unit of RSS took exception to the remark about women in shorts. In a statement, the Sangh said, “The inappropriate comment made by Rahul Gandhi is extremely hurtful. Rahul Gandhi should apologise.”

During Rahul’s interactive session with university students in Vadodara, a student pointed out that free education for girls in Gujarat was discontinued by the then Narendra Modi government. Rahul replied, “If you see education statistics for girls, Gujarat does not feature in the top 10. This is because Modi’s words are hollow. It is in Congress nature to strengthen women, and we will do it in the sector of girl’s education.”

Earlier, speaking on Modi’s policies on education, Rahul said, “Modi has turned the focus of education to profit. Congress wants to bring it back to knowledge. In the last one year, the education budget has reduced by 16 per cent…. Modi’s marketing is great, but there is no development in the field of education.”

Reiterating his point about the importance of boosting small businesses to generate employment, Rahul told the students, “You enjoy taking selfies with your phone, but that phone has given jobs to Chinese youth. It says ‘Made in China’. This is happening because Modiji’s focus is not on job creation. When Chinese boys and girls use a phone, I want them to see that it is ‘Made in India’, ‘Made in Gujarat’, ‘Made in Vadodara’.”

Rahul also discussed the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh. When a student asked if he thought journalists were unsafe in India, Rahul said, “Why do you think Lankesh was shot? Do you think truth can be hidden?… Journalists are being intimidated, most media houses ignored our press conference on (Amit Shah’s son) Jay Shah.” The MP said he was trying to revive the original idea of India that promotes freedom of expression.

Comparing the present regime with the UPA government, he said, “Can you imagine this kind of violence and intimidation under Manmohan Singh? We do not believe in violence and intimidation. The Congress knows how to revive the economy with a soft approach, by including all sectors of the economy….”

Asked why people should vote for his party, Rahul said that a Congress government would be willing to answer questions. “When we come into power in Gujarat… your leaders will listen to you. I won’t tell you only my Mann ki Baat.”

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