Cong steps up stir over Rahul disqualification
Congress leaders and workers held protests across the country on Sunday over the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi from the Lok Sabha, with party president Mallikarjun Kharge and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra leading the charge by accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of “trying to silence” a “martyr’s son” during a rally in the Capital
Congress leaders and workers held protests across the country on Sunday over the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi from the Lok Sabha, with party president Mallikarjun Kharge and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra leading the charge by accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of “trying to silence” a “martyr’s son” during a rally in the Capital.
Protests were held in Delhi, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Assam, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, and Jammu and Kashmir as part of what the party described as its “Sankalp Satyagraha” after Gandhi’s disqualification on Friday, following his conviction in a defamation case by a Surat court.
In Delhi, hundreds of Congress workers congregated at Rajghat despite the Delhi Police denying permission for any demonstration.
Leading the attack on the BJP, Priyanka said no cases were registered when her brother, Rahul, was called Mir Jafar. “This is an insult to that Prime Minister who gave his life,” she said, referring to her father Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated. She said her family gave its blood to the nation and the Congress is ready to do anything to protect democracy and is not scared.
“You have called a martyr’s son anti-national, Mir Jafar, insulted his mother in Parliament. The Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) in Parliament asks why this family does not use the ‘Nehru’ surname. You insult the entire family and the tradition of Kashmiri Pandits. But there is no case against you. You don’t get a case or a two-year term and no one disqualifies you. Why?” she said.
Congress president Kharge joined in the attack and slammed the BJP over its charge that Rahul Gandhi had insulted the OBCs with his remark on the Modi surname. He referred to Modi’s “puppy” remark about Gujarat riot victims, while adding that “a person who called people dogs was talking about OBCs. Why is he worried when Rahul and Congress talk about those who fled with public money?”
BJP leaders and spokespersons hit back shortly after. “The Congress agitation is an insult to Mahatma Gandhi — the Father of the Nation organised Satyagraha for social causes, the Congress is holding a so-called Satyagraha for personal reasons,” said BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi.
“Satyagraha for what?... Is it to justify the way you insulted the entire backward community of the country, or against the court which sentenced you, or against the provision under which you have to be disqualified,” he said, asking the Congress to clarify.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath said those who weaken democracy cannot observe Satyagraha.
The exchange between the two parties is the latest in one of the most bitter political fights between the two arch-rivals, with the unprecedented disqualification of one of the top leaders.
In the second half of the budget session that has been a near-washout so far, BJP lawmakers launched a rare protest against Gandhi, demanding his apology for what they said were anti-India comments he made in the UK, a charge Gandhi denied.
Rahul Gandhi claimed that the demand for his apology for his remarks and other attacks were aimed to distract from the real issue involving the Adani Group. In a press conference on Saturday, the former Congress president said Modi “was scared of my next speech in Parliament on Adani”.
On Sunday, top Congress leaders Ashok Gehlot and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the issue had brought the Opposition together and this unity would grow as days go by.
“How much will you insult one person?” Priyanka said, and asked if Lord Ram, who was sent into exile, was a “parivaarwadi”.
“They accuse us of dynasticism. Who was Lord Ram? He was exiled and he fulfilled his responsibilities towards his family and motherland. Was Lord Ram ‘parivaarwadi’? Were the Pandavas ‘parivaarwadi’ because they fought to uphold the values of their family? Should we be ashamed that our family members sacrificed their lives for this country?” the Congress leader said.