The Congress hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday over his remarks targeting the opposition alliance, with Rahul Gandhi saying “Call us whatever you want”, but “we are INDIA” and will rebuild the idea of India in Manipur.
Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said while “we are talking about Manipur, which is burning”, the prime minister is “talking about East India (Company) and saying INDIA means East India (Company)”.
Later, in a tweet in Hindi, Kharge said, “While we are talking about Manipur, the prime minister, outside the House, is calling ‘INDIA’ as ‘East India Company’. The Congress party has always been with ‘Mother India’ i.e. ‘Bharat Mata’.”
“The slaves of the British were the political ancestors of the BJP. Prime Minister Modi, stop diverting the country’s attention with your rhetoric. Narendra Modiji, speak about Manipur in Parliament, do not belittle the dignity of the prime minister’s post by calling INDIA, that is Bharat, good or bad,” the Congress president said.
In a video released by the Congress, Kharge said, “Why is he (Modi) rattled by the name of our alliance INDIA, if he thinks there is nothing in a name? This means that with the opposition meetings being held successfully in Patna and in Bengaluru, they (BJP) are getting rattled and scared. They are saying all this in their fear and recalling East India Company and Indian Mujahideen.”
“They are aligned with the ideology that helped the East India Company and the British. They did not participate in the Quit India movement and the freedom movement. And the people of the ideology that killed (Mahatma) Gandhiji are telling us that we are directionless. We are not directionless, we show the way. Prime Minister Modi has become directionless,” he added.
Kharge urged Modi to speak on Manipur and said that is why “we have called for a debate under Rule 267, in which voting can also take place”.
“What is happening in Manipur cannot be compared with Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh or any other state. Those are incidents in which quick action can be taken by the state governments. In Manipur, the entire state is burning…. And now, Meghalaya and Mizoram have also started to burn,” the Congress chief said.
Modi slammed the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) as the most directionless the country has ever seen and cited reviled names, such as East India Company and Indian Mujahideen, to assert that people cannot be misled merely by the use of the country’s name.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said the prime minister told a BJP Parliamentary Party meeting that the conduct of the opposition has been such that as if it has decided to stay in the opposition for long.
Hitting back at Modi, Gandhi tweeted: “Call us whatever you want, Mr Modi. We are INDIA. We will help heal Manipur and wipe the tears of every woman and child. We will bring back love and peace for all her people.” “We will rebuild the idea of India in Manipur,” the former Congress chief said.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh claimed that it is clear that the prime minister is “very rattled by the 26-party INDIA”.
“Not only is he trying to give new life to the almost-dead NDA but has also given it a new meaning through his vile abuses this morning — the National Defamation Alliance. When he is cornered, this is what Mr Modi does all the time — deny, divert, distort, deflect and defame,” Ramesh said in a tweet.
With inputs from News18