'Went to US when Manmohan Singh was PM, was asked...': BJP leader's jab at Cong
Rahul Gandhi news: Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan declared he was not convinced that the ex-Congress chief and Lok Sabha member is Indian.
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Thursday mocked Congress MP Rahul Gandhi as the row over his critical comments about democracy in India and prime minister Narendra Modi - made at events in the United Kingdom - refuse to die down. Chouhan told news agency ANI he had 'doubts about him (Gandhi) being Indian' and that he once defended ex-prime minister Manmohan Singh after he was called an 'under-achiever'.
"I used to think Rahul Gandhi is an immature leader… his mental age seemed lower than a five-year-old. But this time, the way he has criticised our nation (in) a foreign land… he is not a true Indian, I have doubts…" Chouhan said.
"I went to (the) USA when Manmohan Singh was our prime minister. I was asked if he is an under-achiever and I said, 'no, he is our PM and our pride'," he said.
The comments were delivered in Karnataka, where an Assembly elections is due this year and the ruling BJP faces a challenge from the Congress.
A massive political row has broken out over Gandhi's speech at the University of Cambridge and events in London, at which he said democracy in India is under threat and that he and other opposition leaders were subject to surveillance.
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The ruling BJP has used the comments to counter-attack the Congress and other opposition parties after spending much of the Parliament's Budget session firefighting attacks on the Adani-Hindenburg row and other issues.
Former union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad earlier Thursday accused Gandhi of 'baseless' charges and (again) demanded an apology. "How long will Rahul Gandhi mislead the country? It is habit to insult the feelings of Indians by criticising Indian democracy abroad. We will campaign for an apology."
READ | 'Didn't say anything anti-India', says Rahul Gandhi amid Parliament row
The furore over Gandhi's comments (and the opposition's demand on a parliamentary probe into the Adani-Hindenburg controversy) have stalled Parliament since it re-opened Monday.
Members of the ruling BJP have insisted Gandhi apologise but their Congress rivals have stood firm, and have pointed to a speech by Modi in which the PM spoke about people being 'ashamed' of being Indians before his government.
Earlier today Gandhi - making his first appearance at Parliament this week - insisted he did not say anything 'anti-India' and pointed out he could only respond to the BJP's allegations if given a chance to do so.
Also this afternoon, Gandhi took a swipe of his own at the BJP, saying, "If Indian democracy was functioning, I would be able to say my piece in Parliament."