The Congress on Saturday hit back at the BJP for criticising Rahul Gandhi’s remarks at Cambridge University, saying the ruling party’s statements either stem from ignorance or from “completely contrived politics” both of which have no place in a democracy.
Gandhi’s remarks at the university that Indian democracy is under attack and several politicians, including himself, are under surveillance, has triggered a political slugfest with the BJP accusing him of maligning India on foreign soil and the Congress hitting back by citing instances of Prime Minister Narendra Modi raking up internal politics abroad.
Addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters here, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said Gandhi is a leading member of India’s politics and as a member of a party that was in power earlier as well as a leading member of the Opposition, he has consistently stood for and espoused the causes of the common man.
Gandhi is a four-time elected MP and when he speaks in Cambridge about a world that is fraught with tensions and what an important role India can play in that world, he is actually lauding Indian democracy, Shrinate argued.
“He is being the flag-bearer of the values our nation is built on. When he talks about Mahatma Gandhi and the values of our Constitution and the foundation of our country he is actually bringing India a lot of pride. I don’t understand where it stems from but the BJP’s opposition (to his remarks) is either ignorance or completely contrived politics both of which have no place in a democracy,” she said.
Shrinate said the BJP attacking Gandhi on two grounds that he spoke on foreign soil and about Pegasus is “hollow” because Prime Minister Modi has gone ahead and spoken “much worse, washed dirty lenin in public, and made baseless allegations against India’s political system, political Opposition when he was travelling overseas to the extent that while in Shanghai, he had said that people in this country curse as why were they born in India”.
Defending Gandhi’s remarks alleging that he and other Opposition leaders were put on surveillance, Shrinate said the Pegasus fact-finding committee told the court in no uncertain terms that the government of the day did not cooperate with that committee.
She alleged that a section of the media as part of a “coordinated action” “mischievously” quoted him on Pulwama and China.
Shrinate questioned how anyone can say that Gandhi did not “call it (Pulwama) a terror attack”. “He said showing a picture, ‘This is me putting flowers on the spot where almost 40 soldiers were killed by a car bomb’,” she said.
When Pulwama happened Prime Minister Modi kept shooting for ‘Man versus Wild’, Shrinate alleged.
The Congress leader also attacked the Modi government for what she said was its “love affair” with China, alleging that the prime minister gave a clean chit to China undermining India’s position on the border issue.
In his lecture, Gandhi alleged that Indian democracy is under attack and several politicians, including himself, are under surveillance.
The former Congress president listed five key aspects of the alleged attack on Indian democracy — capture and control of media and judiciary; surveillance and intimidation; coercion by federal law enforcement agencies; attacks on minorities, Dalits, and tribals; and shutting down of dissent.
With inputs from News18