Rahul Gandhi dares PM Narendra Modi to a debate
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Rahul Gandhi dares PM Narendra Modi to a debate

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a coward and challenged him to a debate on Rafale and national security even as he cautioned the bureaucracy not to toe the RSS-BJP line.

india Updated: Feb 07, 2019 23:49 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rahul Gandhi,Narendra Modi,Rafale
Congress President Rahul Gandhi arrives for general secretaries meeting at congress headquarters in New Delhi on Thursday. (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a coward and challenged him to a debate on Rafale and national security even as he cautioned the bureaucracy not to toe the RSS-BJP line.

Addressing a convention organised by his party’s minority affairs department at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi, Gandhi launched one of his fiercest attacks on the Prime Minister and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“I know his (Modi) character after fighting him for five years...I say to BJP leaders... make Narendra Modi stand with me on a stage for five minutes and debate on national security, Rafale...,” the Congress chief said in his 34-minute speech in Hindi. “I want to say he is a darpok (coward) person. I have understood and recognised him. He gets scared when he faces someone who says I will not back off; he backs off,” Gandhi told the convention named “Mera Samvidhan, Mera Swabhiman (My Constitution, My Pride)’.

Gandhi alleged that the RSS was trying to capture institutions in the country, from the judiciary to the Election Commission and asserted that Congress governments in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh would remove “RSS people” from such institutions in the three states. “We have not merely formed governments in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh... we will ensure that RSS people put in institutions in these states are removed,” he said.

The Congress chief claimed that Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath informed him that there was a special ministry in his state, set up under the BJP’s rule, to which ₹800 crore was given and that it was full of the RSS people. In a word of caution to the bureaucracy, Gandhi said, “India’s bureaucracy should know that it is not RSS’ bureaucracy, but India’s bureaucracy. The Congress president said the aim of the RSS is to set aside the Constitution and run the country from Nagpur. He added that “fear is now writ large on Modi’s face...his image is finished. He now knows you can’t rule India by dividing people.”

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra slammed Congress president and said, “Perhaps RahulGandhi doesn’t know that since ancient times, India was known as the Golden Bird and under PM Narendra Modi’s leadership, India is working its way towards being world leader.”

First Published: Feb 07, 2019 23:49 IST