Start ups and intolerance can't go together, says Rahul Gandhi

As the Centre's ambitious start-up mission got underway, Rahul Gandhi on Saturday trained his guns on the Narendra Modi government, saying there is a contradiction in pushing for start-ups and being 'intolerant'.

Rahul GandhiRahul Gandhi. Pic/PTI

The Congress Vice President also said that the RSS has a very 'rigid vision' for India and that start ups require free movement of ideas. "The ruling dispensation, particularly the RSS, has a clear idea on what the world should look like. They have a vision for India which in my opinion is a very rigid vision. This country requires flexibility, openness and movement of ideas," Gandhi said, during an interaction with management students in suburban Vile Parle in Mumbai.

"There's a huge contradiction in saying I want start ups but I will be intolerant," the Congress leader said. "You will fail on the economy and start up front if you are intolerant," he said.

"Start ups require free movement of ideas. If I say you are a woman and your place is in the kitchen, I am curbing your freedom," he said. He also charged that the BJP categorises people. "The BJP has categories: There's a Hindu for them, a Muslim for them, a woman for them. I don't categorise. That's the difference between us and them," he said.

Rahul asked students not to put labels on people, things and industries. "Saying this is a Hindu, this is a Muslim, this is a woman...hides values," he said, adding, "When Steve Jobs was asked what was the most important class you took, he said - Japanese calligraphy".

Asked how could India help provide conducive atmosphere for start ups, Gandhi said, "Start ups require a whole set of eco systems that allows entrepreneurs to grow including infrastructure and regulation. The biggest problem is red tape. Today, if you are a Rs 10,000 crore company, you can't easily get finance. If you are a big business, you can get around regulations and put pressure on politicians," he said.

To a query on India's development compared to that of China, Gandhi said, "It's pretty clear that China today is more powerful and economically stronger. China's power is centralised. China grabs you and you can see the power it has. India is decentralised. It grabs you and you don't see India's power," he said. "India's power has never been military. It has come from the strength of ideas," the Congress leader said. "China has paid a huge price for what they have achieved. Millions of people paid for that with their lives. In India we didn't kill millions of people," he said.

To a query on why Indian institutions figure in the list of top 200 global varsities, Gandhi said, "Our education institutions are no less than US education institutes." Rahul apologised to students for the 'sometimes high handed way' the security personnel at the event dealt with them.

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