Mumbai: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday took on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for what he termed as their "rigid thinking" which hampers creativity and start-ups in the country.
On the day when the Narendra Modi government's ambitious start-up mission got underway, Gandhi said the RSS has a very "rigid vision" for India and that start-ups require free movement of ideas.
While interacting with management students of Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Juhu-Vile Parle, here, Gandhi said: "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."
"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.
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."
"That's why it's considered easier to launch start-ups in states like Maharashtra or Karnataka, but businesses face a huge problem in Uttar Pradesh or Bihar, though some of the most entrepreneurial people come from there," Gandhi said.
Citing examples, he said the Congress party brought and encouraged a culture of tolerance in the country, people were free to discuss ideas which ultimately culminated in the freedom movement.
"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.
Clad in casual jeans and tee-shirt, Gandhi urged the students not to put "labels on people, industry or things, as labels are human inventions" and stifle growth.
"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".
After the session, Gandhi embarked on a road march (padyatra) along with hundreds of Congress workers from the posh upmarket Bandra to the wretched slums of Dharavi.
The Congress vice president arrived in Mumbai on Thursday on his first visit to the city in 21 months.