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The fight is between Congress and BJP’s contrasting visions of India, says Rahul in Imphal

Gandhi also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi, other BJP leaders and those in the RSS of coming to Manipur with an air of “superiority” and assaulting its culture, tradition, history and democratic institutions.

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Imphal: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday said the fight in India was between his party’s belief in a definition of the country that allows all states to have their own language, culture and history, and that of the BJP which believes in the superiority of one ideology, idea and language.

Gandhi also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi, other BJP leaders and those in the RSS of coming to Manipur with an air of “superiority” and assaulting its culture, tradition, history and democratic institutions.

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“We believe in a definition of India where every state had equal rights and the right to have its own language, culture and history. There is also the BJP vision, which we fight. Their vision is that there is one ideology, one idea, one language that is superior to all the other ideals, all the other languages, all the other cultures. This is the battle that is taking place in India today,” Gandhi said while addressing an election meeting at at Hapta Kangjeibung here.

Gandhi said a few days ago, while speaking in parliament about the situation in the country, he had described India as a Union of States, as defined in the Constitution.

“The BJP and the RSS reacted to my speech. They did not like that I said India was a union of states,” he said, Gandhi said Modi and other BJP leaders have no respect and understanding for the people of the Northeastern state.

“When BJP and the RSS leaders come to Manipur they come not with respect, not with understanding, they come with a sense of superiority. When I come here, I don’t come here with a sense of superiority. I come with humility because I understand that you have a lot to give”.

Gandhi said there is a lot he can learn from Manipur’s diverse tribes, values, from its history, culture, language, “for the way you treat your women.”

“There is something I can learn and take back with me when I go home”. Attacking Modi, he said the Prime Minister comes to Manipur with the idea that he has a superior vision and language, and has the right to define India.

“This is the difference between us. I want to help preserve your language, I want to help preserve your culture. I want to help preserve the harmony that is prevailing in Manipur,” he said.

He accused the BJP leaders of “assaulting” Manipur’s culture, history, language and tradition, and taking away its democratic structure and institutions. To buttress his point, the former Congress President referred to the state’s BJP government not holding elections to the Autonomous District Council (ADC) for five years.

He wondered how the government could keep on talking about taking governance to the people’s doorstep and empowering the masses when they did not hold even the ADC elections. The MP from Waynad announced that the Congress party will protect the history, culture, language and traditions of the people of Manipur if voted to power in the state.

He said Congress has the solution to improve the situation in Manipur and wants the culture of the state to spread out to other parts of the country. Similarly, people of Manipur should also learn from other parts of the country, he said.

Gandhi alleged that union Home Minister Amit Shah had invited senior leaders of Manipur and asked them to remove their shoes while he himself continued to wear his shoes.

“It is not our culture to force guests to remove their shoes while the host wears shoes, he said. It is not Indian culture, Indian culture is to honour your guests when they come to your house,” he said. 

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