Reacting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi said that he was only focused on attacking the Congress, which depicts his fear of the party that speaks the truth. Responding to the PM’s several attacks at the Congress, Gandhi said that he can keep abusing the Congress and the first prime minister of independent India, his great-grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru, but should also discharge his prime ministerial duties.
Stating that neither Jawaharlal Nehru nor any of his family members who have dedicated their entire life for the country need any certificate from anyone, Gandhi said, “My great-grandfather served this country and gave his entire life to it. He did what he had to do as did other members of my family and millions of people of this country,” adding, “If you like abusing the Congress, if you like abusing Jawaharlal Nehru, be my guest, keep doing it, but do your job.”
Speaking to reporters outside the Parliament, hours after PM Modi’s speech at the Rajya Sabha, Rahul Gandhi claimed that the prime minister skipped addressing three key issues raised by him in the Lok Sabha last week. He mentioned that he has raised issues like the growing economic divide and the creation of two Indias, regular attacks on independent institutions, and foreign policy that has brought Pakistan and China together.
“There is a little bit of fear inside as the Congress speaks the truth. They [the BJP] have a network of friends who do their marketing and spread lies. But there is fear inside and it was visible in Parliament,” said the Congress MP.
The prime minister had lashed out at the Congress in the Parliament, accusing the party of dismissing state governments in the past, being intolerant towards any criticism against its leadership, being in the grip of “urban naxals”, supporting corruption, casteism, regionalism and dynastic politics. The BJP head’s fresh attack came a day after he referred the Congress as the leader of the “tukde-tukde gang” in the Lok Sabha.
“It is being said that we are trying to change history. The Congress thinking seems to have been hijacked by urban naxals. We just want to improve the memory of some people. We are not changing history. Some people’s history is limited to one family,” he said in the Rajya Sabha.
Responding to Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge’s question on the fate of the nation in the Congress’ absence of after independence, Modi said, “I will tell you what would have happened if Congress wasn’t there — democracy would have been devoid of dynastic influence, we would be rid of foreign influence, there would be no Emergency, no caste and regional divide, no Sikh genocide would have taken place, Kashmiri Pandits wouldn’t have been displaced, daughters wouldn’t have been killed in tandoors [oven] and the common man would not have had to wait for years to get basic amenities.”
“Congress has a problem with ‘nation’ also. If [the word] nation is unconstitutional, then why is your party’s name Indian National Congress. Change it to Federation of Congress. Correct the mistakes done by your predecessors,” added Modi, targeting Rahul Gandhi without explicitly taking his name.
Citing that 14 state governments were dismissed during the Congress rule during the 1950s, Modi claimed that the grand old party only functions on three principles – “discredit, destabilise and dismiss”. “Tall statements were given on federalism… have we forgotten how chief ministers were removed on flimsy grounds, a PM’s son did not like the arrangements at the airport so the then Andhra chief minister was removed… Karnataka’s Virendra Patil was removed while he was unwell,” he said.
Soon after Modi started targeting the Congress during his address, opposition leaders left the House. Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said that the prime minister misused the Parliament for his own political benefit. “The prime minister was only attacking Congress and was not answering questions raised by the party. Congress party raised issues like China’s extreme aggression, rising inflation in the country, unemployment, crisis arising out of Pegasus and COVID-19 in front of the government but the prime minister did not say anything on these issues,” he said.
“The prime minister should have kept in mind the dignity of the post, but he talked only on those issues which can be used for elections in five states, if there is any hate and anger against Congress, Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru and Rahul Gandhi, he can speak these things outside the House and should have responded to the issues raised by the Congress in the House. But the prime minister has misused the House for electoral gains,” added Kharge.