The Congress’ reaction came after Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Dhankhar attacked Mr Gandhi for his comments regarding microphones being turned off in Parliament, and said he would be on the “wrong side” of the Constitution if he stayed silent on the issue.
In a statement, Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh noted that at an event on Thursday to mark the launch of a book, the vice president made certain remarks on Rahul Gandhi’s speech delivered in the United Kingdom.
“There are certain offices which require us to shed our prejudices, our party allegiances and compel us to rid ourselves of whatever propaganda we may have imbibed along the way.
“The office of the Vice President of India, an office on which the Constitution bestows the additional responsibility of being the Chair of the Rajya Sabha, is foremost amongst these,” Mr Ramesh said.
The vice president’s statement on Mr Gandhi, therefore, was surprising to say the least, he said.
“He (Jagdeep Dhankhar) rushed to the defence of a government from which he is constitutionally required to be at arms-length and in a manner that was both confusing as well as disappointing,” Mr Ramesh said.
He said Rahul Gandhi has not said anything abroad that he has not said several times here. “And unlike certain other individuals, his stand does not vary depending on where he sits,” Mr Ramesh said.
The Congress leader argued that Rahul Gandhi’s statement was factual and representative of the reality on the ground. “Over the last two weeks, more than twelve Members of Parliament belonging to Opposition Parties have been served with Breach of Privilege Notices for protesting the suppression of their voices in Parliament on an issue that is inconvenient to the ruling regime,” he said.
Over the last eight years, channels and newspapers have been blacked out, raided, and intimidated to the point that the only voice that is carried is that of the government, he alleged.
Institutions that maintained a studied distance from the governments of the past are now subordinated to the point that they choke on any order or finding adversarial to the ruling regime, he claimed.
With inputs from NDTV