Hamburg (Germany): Congress President Rahul Gandhi addressed a full house at Kampnagel Theatre, Bucerius Summer School in Hamburg on Wednesday. Gandhi is on a two-day visit to Germany followed by another two days in the UK. Even in his address, Gandhi couldn’t help mentioning his now infamous hug to PM Modi during the debate on the no-confidence motion. Gandhi said, “Non-violence in India is a founding philosophy of our nationhood and the essence of being an Indian. PM was making hateful remarks at me, and I showed affection. He was taken aback. Even some of them (party members) didn’t like it and I disagreed with them.” (Also read: Shiv Sena Lauds Rahul Gandhi For Hugging PM Modi)

Explaining his gesture, Gandhi said, “The basic idea is that if someone hates you, it is something that they are doing, responding to it with hate is foolish, it won’t solve any problem. You are in full control of how you react.” He added, “Both my father and grandmother were killed, I have suffered violence. There is only one way forward and that is forgiveness.” On the recent spate of lynchings, Gandhi squarely blamed the current Government for its demonetisation move. He said, “A couple of years back, the Prime Minister demonetised the Indian economy and destroyed the cash flow of all MSMEs and millions of people who worked in the informal sector were left unemployed. A large number of people who worked in small businesses were forced back into villages. This is what’s making people angry. All the lynchings we hear about are the result of this.” (Also read: PM Modi Wins Confidence Vote, Rahul Grabs Eyeballs)

Reiterating his party’s commitment to giving better representation to women, Gandhi said, “When I look at Parliament and political parties, there are very few women representatives. We are championing a Bill for women’s reservation, but, deep down it’s a cultural issue.” He also added that he did not see India’s ever-increasing population as a problem if “we bring all those people in the workforce”. Gandhi would be addressing the Indian Overseas Congress at Berlin on Thursday.