Indian opposition party leader Rahul Gandhi to visit UAE

President of the Indian National Congress Party Rahul Gandhi addresses the 48th Congress plenary session in New Delhi on March 17, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 08 January 2019
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Indian opposition party leader Rahul Gandhi to visit UAE

  • Indian National Congress president starts two-day visit to UAE on Friday
  • The Congress head is also scheduled to meet UAE leaders and officials in the capital Abu Dhabi

DUBAI: Rahul Gandhi, the president of India’s leading opposition party, is due to visit the UAE later this week.
The Indian National Congress politician’s two-day trip comes in the run-up to his country’s elections later this year.
Gandhi is expected to arrive in the UAE on Friday and one of his first engagements will be to meet with members of the Indian community living abroad. This will take place at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, where India’s prime minister Narendra Modi addressed the community during a visit in 2015.The Congress head is also scheduled to meet Indian business leaders, university students and visit labor camps during his trip.
Gandhi is also scheduled to meet UAE leaders and officials in the capital Abu Dhabi. 
Speaking exclusively to Arab News, Sam Pitroda, chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress that is organizing the visit, said Gandhi’s UAE trip was part of the party’s outreach campaign to more than 20 million non-resident Indians (NRI) across the world.
“These Indians may have left Indian soil but India still lives in their hearts and minds,” Pitroda said. “Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party wants to reconnect them with their motherland so that they can contribute to the welfare of Indian society in different ways.”
Pitroda said large numbers of Indian expatriates had registered to attend the cricket stadium event through the website rginuae.com that has been specially set up for the visit.
“NRIs are an important element in our democracy. Even if they don’t vote, their opinion matters a lot as they can influence their families and communities back home. Hence it is important to interact with them,” Pitroda said.
He added that NRIs played a “crucial role” in shaping his country's political, social and economic canvas.
A US-based NRI himself, Pitroda was a key figure in the telecoms revolution that took place in India during the 1980s.
He said Gandhi’s UAE visit will focus on spreading the party’s message of inclusiveness. “Be it equality, freedom, democracy, faith, culture, communities, Congress believes in including everyone, and that’s the beauty of India,” he said.
Surender Singh Kandhari, chairman of Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara, in Dubai, welcomed Gandhi’s visit. “We hope he will perform well and steer our country towards a progressive and a better India.”
Kandhari said he anticipated that Gandhi would encourage young, educated new faces to join the party and hopefully take a leading role in India’s development in the years to come.
Kamran Ziauddin, from Aligarh, who has been living in UAE for more than 18 years, said Gandhi’s UAE visit was crucial coming just months before the country goes to the polls, saying his party offered an alternative solution to the challenges facing India today.
C Uday Bhaskar, director of the Society for Policy Studies in New Delhi, said the 2019 election is being seen as one that will determine the future direction of India.


Iranian opposition groups protest in Brussels

Updated 59 min 15 sec ago
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Iranian opposition groups protest in Brussels

LONDON: Iranian opposition groups protested outside the Council of the European Union in Brussels on Saturday against the regime in Tehran.
The protests mark the upcoming anniversary of protests in 1981, when the People’s Mujahedin of Iran demonstrated against the impeachment of the then president Abolhassan Banisadr.
Several European politicians, including the former Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi and the former Vice President of the European Parliament Alejo Vidal-Quadras, gave speeches at the protest in support of the Iranian opposition.
The President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran Maryam Rajavi called on the “EU to designate the mullahs’ Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and their Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) as terrorist entities.”
She also said that the Iranian “regime’s mercenaries must be tried, punished and expelled.”
Rajavi also saluted “supporters of the Iranian people’s Resistance, and the Human Rights advocates who have come from various European and Arab countries.”