G20 gala dinner | Government doesn’t value leader of 60% of India, says Rahul Gandhi


Congress leader Rahul Gandhi speaks during a media interaction at the Brussels Press Club, Belgium, on September 8, 2023.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi speaks during a media interaction at the Brussels Press Club, Belgium, on September 8, 2023.
| Photo Credit: PTI

Not inviting the leader of opposition, shows that the Narendra Modi government does not value the leader of 60% population, senior Congress Rahul Gandhi said on the government not extending an invitation to Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge for the G20 gala dinner being hosted by the President Droupadi Murmu

Mr. Kharge is also the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha which is a cabinet rank position. This is the first reaction from Congress on Mr. Kharge’s exclusion. “They have decided not to invite the leader of opposition. It tells you that they don’t value the leader of 60% of India’s population. Why are they feeling the need to do that and what is the type of thinking goes behind that?” He was speaking during a press interaction at Brussels Press Club, in Belgium. He is in Europe for a week-long tour. 


He had recently made the “60%” remark at the conclusion of INDIA’s Mumbai summit, where waving at the stage where heads of all coalition partners were sitting, Mr. Gandhi said, that they together represented 60 per cent of the country. 

Though to an earlier question on G-20, he refrained from attacking the government. “I think G-20 is an important conversation and a good thing that India is hosting it,” he averred. Mr. Gandhi also steered clear of attacking the government’s stand on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.  

Mr. Gandhi reiterated his statements on “attacks on Indian institutions and democratic framework” that he has made both within the country and in his interactions outside of it. Answering a question on Manipur, he said, he wishes for “democratic rights, harmony and peace between people” in Manipur.  “There is a sense in India, that the democratic structures… institution structures are under attack and they are under attack from the group of the people who are running India. Anyone who has little bit of understanding of India knows this,” he said. But at the same time, he stressed, “The fight for democracy in India is ours. And it is our responsibility and we will make sure that the onslaught on our institutions and our freedom is stopped…the opposition will make sure that.”  

The ongoing Bharat vs India debate, Mr. Gandhi said, is just a diversionary tactic. “We named our coalition INDIA and it is a fantastic idea, because it represents who we are. We consider ourselves to be the voice of India. It of course disturbed the PM enough that he wants to change the name of the country. Every time we raise the issue of Mr Adani and crony capitalism, PM comes out with some dramatic, new diversionary tactic,” he said.   

There is an attempt to change the nature of our country, Mr. Gandhi remarked, answering a question on discrimination against minorities. Not only minorities, the tribals, Dalits and those from backward classes are also facing discrimination, he underlined. “Our country in the Constitution is described as a union of states, we believe, the most critical aspect of our union is the conversation between the members of our union. The BJP vision believes the power, should be centralised, it should be concentrated and wealth should be concentrated. And the conversation between members of the union and people of India should be suppressed,” he said. 

Speaking on China, Mr. Gandhi said, that there is a need to put forth an alternative vision to China’s “coercive production model”. China, he said, has been able to put forward its vision because it has become a centre of global production. China believes in producing in coercive environment, Mr. Gandhi said, where there may be prosperity but without political freedom. “Challenge for us is, can we provide an alternative vision – of production under democratic conditions with political and economic freedom. And I think there is a lot of cooperation that can happen between United States of America, Europe and us(India),” he said. 


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