During his speech at the prestigious American university, Rahul said the Congress had broken the back of terrorism in Kashmir by 2013.
Berkeley: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi hinted at an US university interaction Tuesday that he was ready to be the Prime Ministerial candidate in the 2019 general elections.
Rahul began his two-week US trip on Tuesday, and his first stop was the University of California, Berkeley.
During a chat, the moderator asked Rahul: “When the UPA was in power, there was a great clamour for you to be part of the exedcutive, become a Cabinet minister, the Prime Minister… In 2014, they wanted you to be the Prime Ministerial candidate which you declined. And you are very likely to face the same demand in 2019. Are you ready to now take charge in an exedcutive role?”
Rahil answered: “I am absolutely ready to do that. But the way our party works… We have an organisational election process that decides that. That process is currently ongoing. To say that decision would be mine, would not be fair. That is being decided by the party.”
To the moderator further probing whether Rahul was open to the idea, hew said: “Yes”.
Addressing the students, Rahul Gandhi blamed Narendra Modi for violence in Kashmir, saying the Prime Minister opened up space for terrorists in the valley.
During his speech at the prestigious American university, Rahul said the Congress had broken the back of terrorism in Kashmir by 2013, but it returned when the BJP forged an alliance with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir.
“By 2013, we basically broke the back of terror, I hugged (then) prime minister Manmohan Singh and told him it was one of the biggest achievements,” Rahul said.
“So he (Modi) massively opened up space for the terrorists in Kashmir, and you saw the increase in violence,” Rahul added.
Rahul also admitted that arrogance had crept into the Congress party around 2012 and “we stopped having conversations with people”.
Rahul, who is on a two-week trip to the United States, addressed the students of University of California on contemporary India and the path forward for the world's largest democracy.
His great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister, delivered a speech at Berkeley in 1949.
Here are the highlights of his speech: