‘Anti-India forces’ speak same language, Rijiju slams Rahul Gandhi

Mar 16, 2023 10:49 AM IST

The government has sought an apology from Gandhi for “defaming” the country and its democratic institutions through his comments during his visit to the United Kingdom

Anti-India forces speak the same language, said Union minister Kiren Rijiju on Thursday as he lashed out at Congress lawmaker Rahul Gandhi for claiming Indian democracy is under threat.

Union minister Kiren Rijiju. (PTI)
Union minister Kiren Rijiju. (PTI)

“What Rahul Gandhi says is the same language used by those who are anti-India both in the country and outside,” said Rijiju.

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The government has sought an apology from Gandhi for “defaming” the country and its democratic institutions through his comments during his visit to the United Kingdom, where he said there is no freedom of speech in India. It has maintained the comments insulted the judiciary, Parliament, and the media.

Rijiju said no one can stay silent when it comes to the national interest. “Anything related to the nation is a matter of concern for all,” Rijiju said.

He added the government and the Bharatiya Janata Party are not concerned by whatever Rahul Gandhi says and how it affects his own party, but they will not allow anyone to “defame” the country.

“Whatever he says harms his party. Does not matter to us. If the party sinks because of him, it is not our concern, but when he tries to cause harm to the country, we cannot stay silent.”

He referred to the Congress’s insistence that Gandhi did not defame the nation and therefore there was no question of apology. “If Congress feels it is nothing serious, then they do not deserve to represent a certain section of people in Parliament. They should be forever indebted to the people of India who gave them maximum opportunity to serve the country.”

He rejected the Congress’s allegation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke against the country during his visits abroad. Rijiju said Modi did not defame the country and only said the government of that time was corrupt and inefficient.

Rijiju said Gandhi lied abroad. “ Everyone saw and heard him during the first half of the budget session; he lied in Parliament and kept rules aside. Then in London, he claimed he is not allowed to speak in Parliament. Two, he said he cannot address students in colleges and universities; everyone here has seen how he conducted the [Bharat Jodo] Yatra and yet he goes abroad and says he is not allowed. The person who speaks the most in India is the one who claims he is not allowed to speak.”

He rejected the perception that minorities in India are under attack. “I am a minority... he [Gandhi] lied the Prime Minister thinks Sikhs are second-class citizens. Look at the atrocities against minorities in our neighbourhood.”

Asked whether he agrees with his colleague Giriraj Singh’s comment that Gandhi’s statements were seditious, Rijiju said, “What he [Gandhi] has said is a bigger violation...It is a violation of the oath. He has insulted the Constitution, so he should apologise to the nation.”

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    Smriti covers an intersection of politics and governance. Having spent over a decade in journalism, she combines old fashioned leg work with modern story telling tools.

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