A clip of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi talking to weavers in Tamil Nadu’s Erode has gone viral on social media, without the full context. Users claimed that Gandhi asked for the replacement of the Indian Army at the border with weavers, labourers and farmers.
In the longer version of Gandhi’s address, it’s clear that he’s referring to India’s economic strength. He says that if the workers, labourers and farmers of India were empowered, India would be economically strong, and China would not have the "guts" to transgress our borders. He suggests that China has been able to enter the country because they see that “India’s economy is on its knees.”
A clip of Gandhi saying, “If you use India’s labourers, farmers and workers, you will not need the Army, Navy and Air Force to be standing over there (at the border). China will not have the guts to come inside,” was shared widely with users claiming he had stated that the Indian Army could be replaced by workers and labourers of India.
The clip was shared by Times Now’s political analyst Shehzad Jai Hind, garnering over 122,600 views at the time of writing this article.
Another user garnered over 177,000 views at the time of writing this article.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
Rahul Gandhi was on a three-day tour in Tamil Nadu to launch his party’s campaign for the upcoming Assembly elections. On 24 January, he met and interacted with weavers in Erode.
We found the full clip of the interaction on Indian National Congress’ YouTube channel.
The viral clip begins at 36:38 where Gandhi says, “If you use India’s labourers, India’s farmers, India’s workers, you will not need the Army, Navy and the Air Force to be standing over there. China won’t have the guts to come inside.”
However, also he makes the statement in the context of empowering India’s workers economically. At 30:22 the Congress leader begins by saying that Chinese army had occupied India’s territory. He questions how China had the "guts" to do so.
He suggests that China “can see India is weak” and that every single action of the Indian government is meant to strengthen “five-six business people” and “weaken India’s real strength – the labourers, the workers, and the weavers.”
He then says that if the labourers and small and medium businesses were empowered, the “President of China would be wearing a ‘Made In India’ shirt,” and the Chinese would be driving Indian cars and flying on Indian air planes.
Hence, Gandhi had not asked the defence forces of India, protecting the borders, to be replaced by its workers, labourers and farmers. He was instead suggesting that China had dared to transgress our borders because of India’s “weak economy"and if we empower the working class of the country, and emerge with economic strength, China would not have the “guts” to do so.
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