‘Does he know…’: BJP mounts pressure on Rahul for UK speech | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

‘Does he know…’: BJP mounts pressure on Rahul Gandhi for UK speech, demands 'apology'

By, New Delhi
Mar 20, 2023 12:12 PM IST

Reiterating its demand for Rahul Gandhi's apology in Parliament, for his UK speech, BJP and Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri said the Congress leader should say 'sorry' categorically and unequivocally.

Mounting pressure on Rahul Gandhi for his UK speech, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday said the Congress leader should apologise categorically and unequivocally.

Union housing and urban affairs minister Hardeep Puri.(PTI file)
Union housing and urban affairs minister Hardeep Puri.(PTI file)

Puri also said any individual has the freedom to speak outside India but along with that the person needs to have a sense of responsibility.

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“If any individual goes outside the country he has the freedom to speak but along with that freedom comes what I call the need to have a sense of responsibility. We are the world's oldest democracy but Mr Gandhi goes to the UK and says Indian democracy is facing an attack on the basic structure,” Puri said while addressing the media before Monday's Parliament session.

“He (Rahul Gandhi) should apologise categorically, unequivocally. He also said the core of the BJP ideology is cowardice. I don't know what he is trying to say. Today, India is the 5th largest economy and soon we will be 4th largest economy,” the Union minister added.

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Taking a dig at Gandhi's comments on China, Puri, “He hails China's Belt and Road Initiative as a visionary step. Does he know that China's BRI goes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir?... His grandmother invoked Article 356 50 times to suspend and dismiss legitimately elected state governments,” the minister said.

Didn't seek foreign intervention: Rahul Gandhi

Gandhi, however, on Saturday defended the speech at a parliamentary panel meet, saying he never sought any foreign intervention over the issue, news agency PTI reported. Gandhi further reiterated his position that India's democracy was "under attack" and "this was known" to all. He is learnt to have said at the meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of External Affairs that he cannot be dubbed as "anti-national" for his remarks.

The Congress MP's remarks were made at a meeting of the Ministry of External Affairs consultative committee, which saw acrimonious exchanges after BJP members questioned Gandhi's UK remarks, without naming him, the sources said.

The exchanges marred the meeting where the principal agenda was India's G20 presidency, with Congress MP Shashi Tharoor tweeting, "A good meeting of the Consultative Committee on External Affairs today on India’s foreign policy objectives in the G20 was somewhat marred by some members needlessly politicising the discussion. Rahul Gandhi robustly responded to them and it ended with an amicable group photograph."

Parliament's Budget session has been a washout since the beginning of its second part on March 13, with the Bharatiya Janata Party demanding an apology from Gandhi.

During his interactions in the UK, Gandhi had recently alleged that the structures of Indian democracy were under attack and there was a “full-scale assault” on the country's institutions.

On Monday too, Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned till 2 pm amid ruckus in the House over the Congress leader's democracy remarks.

As soon as the proceedings started, members of the treasury benches began raising the issue.

Opposition members, including those from the Congress, also began shouting slogans demanding a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into alleged stock manipulation by the Adani Group.

Speaker Om Birla repeatedly urged the members to allow the House to function. As the members refused to relent, Birla adjourned the proceedings.

(With inputs from agencies)

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    Have 11 years' experience in print and digital media. Write on politics, defence and world affairs, and have a keen eye for human-interest stories.

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