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‘Rahul will bring democracy to the US journey and will not back down’


Sam Petroda, Gandhi’s US-based colleague and someone closely associated with the planning and execution of the Congress leader’s visit, said Gandhi’s trip was motivated “by a desire to agitate us about democracy”.

“I think we have a moral responsibility to talk about the challenges facing democracy around the world — from Turkey to Hungary to Mexico to India and even here in the United States,” he said, adding, “We’re for diversity and inclusion and we’re going to talk about it.”

Asked if Gandhi would speak about the situation in India, Petroda said, “Yes, if asked about it.”

Asked about the controversies that followed Gandhi’s statements abroad in previous cases, Petroda said: “We have no control over them. They happen even when we don’t say anything.”

Gandhi’s remarks in an interaction with students at Britain’s University of Cambridge recently drew heavy criticism from rival parties in India because, it is alleged, they incite the pursuit of foreign intervention in India. Both the Congress leader and the party maintained that he had done no such thing.

Gandhi would be expected to travel first to the West Coast to interact at Stanford University and members of the diaspora, and then make his way through Washington, D.C. to New York on the East Coast for more interaction with the “institutions,” in Petroda’s words, and the diaspora, which was growing exponentially in terms of The number and financial and political clout, thus, co-opted Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party and other political parties such as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Gandhi is set to add his name to another piece of family history on this trip when he attends a luncheon with reporters at the famous National Press Club in Washington, D.C., first hosted by his great-grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru in 1956, his grandmother Indira Gandhi in 1966, and his father. Rajiv Gandhi in 1985. But unlike them, he will not go there as Prime Minister.

Congress leader arrives in US after stunning showing in Karnataka state elections following and speaking extensively on Bharat Guddu Yatra. But Petroda said the trip was planned well in advance, dismissing the suggestion that Gandhi’s trip to the US was designed to weather this change in fortunes for the party and the Congress leader.

“This trip is not intended to benefit from the sudden increase in the election fortunes of the Congress, especially Karnataka or even the removal of Gandhi from the Lok Sabha.

“It’s not possible to plan trips like this in 20 days,” Petroda said, adding, “The planning for this trip started a long time ago.”

Another reason for the trip was to connect with the expats here. “There are 5 million Indian Americans here who are doing excellent work in all areas of life and we want to recognize that,” said Petroda.

– Jans

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