In 3 video messages, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul and Priyanka amp up attack on PM over ‘Chinese incursion’
The Gandhi family’s comeback videos over China come after the BJP’s charge that the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation had received funds from the Chinese government and its embassy in the pastUpdated: Jun 26, 2020 18:47 IST
In three video messages released back-to-back on Friday afternoon, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, son Rahul and daughter Priyanka stepped up attacks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the India-China border standoff and asked the government to take people into confidence on the extent of territories being occupied by Chinese troops.
Sonia Gandhi recalled PM Modi’s statements that China hasn’t crossed into our territory. But, she said, Chinese forces do appear to have occupied Indian territory according to defence experts, satellite images and statements emerging out of the foreign ministry.
The three video messages were prefaced by glowing tributes to the army and 20 soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice at the violent face-off with China’s People’s Liberation Army troopers in east Ladakh’s Galwan area earlier this month. Then came the jabs and swipes.
While the country pays tributes to the fallen soldiers, Sonia Gandhi said the central government could not step back from its responsibilities and must get back the Indian territory, which she said, had been occupied by Chinese troops. She also asked the government to back the army all the way. “This is true patriotism,” she said, wrapping up her three-minute video message.
The three video messages from the Gandhi family come against the backdrop of stinging attacks on them from the top leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders that alleged the party’s Rajiv Gandhi Foundation was a beneficiary of donations from the Chinese government and its embassy in New Delhi. Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad alleged the donation had led the Congress to support China. He also said RGF had pushed for a free trade agreement between the two countries, leading to a huge trade deficit skewed in favour of China, and that the donation led to the Congress supporting China.
This morning, BJP chief JP Nadda put out excerpts from annual reports of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation to allege that the PM Relief Fund, which receives donations from the public, had gone ahead to donate money to the RGF, when the Manmohan Singh-led coalition was in power.
Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s video messages were a tad more acerbic than the one from Sonia Gandhi.
China has taken away our land not just at one place but in three areas. “Prime Minister ji, you will have to speak the truth and tell the country. There is no need to get flustered. If you say no land was taken away and the truth is otherwise, it will be China’s gain,” Rahul Gandhi said. Nudging PM Modi to come out with a revised statement, Rahul Gandhi said China would be the key beneficiary if India keeps on denying that it has occupied territory when it has.
Priyanka Gandhi sought to link Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to improve relations with China over his information summits with President Xi jinping. “What happened during the discussions that PM Modi had held with the Chinese that they were so emboldened to take over our territories,” Priyanka Gandhi asked, asserting that it was everyone’s duty to ask questions of the government. “We will not allow the sacrifices of our soldiers to go in vain…. It will be a crime to disrespect their sacrifice. We will not allow this to happen,” she said.
The Congress insists that PM Modi’s concluding statement at the all-party meeting that Chinese troops were not present in Indian territory contradicted the earlier statements made by the Army chief, the defence Minister and the foreign ministry. The party asked if no Chinese troops had crossed the LAC, what was the reason for the face-off.
The Prime Minister’s Office had responded to this line of attack to clarify that the PM’s observations that there was no Chinese presence on our side of the LAC pertain to the situation as a consequence of the bravery of the Armed Forces. “The sacrifice of the soldiers of the 16 Bihar Regiment for the attempts of the Chinese side to erect structures and also cleared the attempted transgression at this point of the LAC on that day,” the PMO had said.