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Don’t speak out of turn, take united stand against RSS: Rahul Gandhi to Congress leaders

Gandhi’s remarks came days after senior Congress leader and former law minister Salman Khurshid had opposed the party’s decision to move a motion for the removal of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

india Updated: Apr 29, 2018 20:57 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress,Rahul Gandhi,RSS
Congress president Rahul Gandhi addresses his supporters during a Jan Aakrosh at Ramlila ground in New Delhi on Sunday.(Reuters Photo)

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Sunday directed party leaders to not speak out of turn and take a united stand against the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The Congress chief, however, assured the gathering at Delhi’s Jan Aakrosh rally that differences in opinions within the party will be respected and dissenters will be protected.

Gandhi’s remarks came days after senior Congress leader and former law minister Salman Khurshid had opposed the party’s decision to move a motion for the removal of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. Khurshid had courted another controversy last week when while addressing students at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) he said Congress’s hands were too stained with the blood of Muslims.

Making a direct reference to Khrushid, Gandhi said: “Sometimes, there are different opinions in our party. I will give you an example. A few days ago Salman Khurshid who is sitting here gave a different opinion. I am ready to accept from this stage that there will be divergence of views in our party and I will ensure that various opinions grow,” he said.

Gandhi, however, was quick to call upon party leaders to speak in one voice when it came to taking on the RSS.

“I will protect Salman Khurshid. But I must tell you that whenever our party is fighting the RSS we have to fight them together and in one voice,” he said.

Echoing Gandhi’s views, Khurshid said unity was a hallmark of the Congress although its leaders might have different views on certain issues. “Just like our country, there will be difference of opinions in our party. But when we it comes to Congress, we all are one and that is the beauty of our party,” he said.

Congress leaders hailed Gandhi’s comments with party’s senior Bihar leader, Kishore Kumar Jha, stating: “He has given a strong message at the right time. All of us have to fight the BJP together and as one team if we want to win the 2019 elections”.

The Congress chief also warned of action against those who “disrespected” party’s leaders and workers and reiterated that both senior and young Congress members will be given their due place in the organisation.

“This party belongs to the nation and all of us. There are both experienced leaders and young people. Everybody will be respected and given a place in Congress. Whether a leader or a worker is 90 years old or 18, all will be respected. If anybody does not respect them, I will take action against the person,” he said.

Read | ‘I thought it’s all over’: Rahul Gandhi to go on pilgrimage after flight scare

Political observers said Gandhi’s comments reflected his aim to maintain order in the Congress and not let discordant voices within the party eclipse the larger narrative at the time of elections.

“No party can afford to be disorganised and pulling in different directions. He (Gandhi) doesn’t want public display of any infighting and resentment. In the election period, it is important to speak in one voice,” said Delhi-based political analyst Professor Balveer Arora.

First Published: Apr 29, 2018 20:56 IST