Row over Rahul Gandhi's Pegasus claim; BJP calls him 'serial offender'
Rahul Gandhi said PM Modi is destroying the architecture of India by imposing an idea that India can't absorb. “I am not bothered about the two, three good things that he is doing if he is blowing my country into smithereens and that's what he is doing," the Congress leader said.
A fresh row began over Rahul Gandhi's speech at Cambridge University where he tore into the BJP government and PM Modi as he said Indian democracy is under attack. The lecture was delivered on Wednesday but the full video of the speech was uploaded on Friday following which BJP leaders condemned the Congress MP. As Rahul Gandhi spoke about his recent Bharat Jodo Yatra, he said the opposition leaders in India are under surveillance. PM Modi is destroying the architecture of India and imposing an idea on India that the country can't absorb. "I am not bothered about the two, three good things that he is doing if he is blowing my country into smithereens and that's what he is doing," Rahul Gandhi said when he was asked to list out a few policies of the government that he thinks are good.
Union minister Anurag Thakur said Pegasus is in his mind. "Rahul Gandhi is again doing this work of hue & cry on foreign soil. Pegasus is in his mind. Under PM Modi's leadership, respect for India increased across the world and big leaders are saying it. Rahul Gandhi should listen to what Italian PM said about PM Modi," the minister said . "Yesterday's (election) result show that Congress has been wiped once again. Congress is not able to accept people's mandate and the yesterday's result show that people trust PM Modi," Anurag Thakur added.
Recalling the Supreme Court verdict on Pegasus, BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla said even after theSC verdict, the "entitled dynast' peddles lies on it. "The entitled dynast is a serial offender -- his hatred for one person transcends into hatred for the country time and again...Ironically, his daadi imposed Emergency and he preaches about democracy! What more can one say!" Shehzad said.
"After the spectacular no show of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, where Congress has been consigned to irrelevance in 3 states with a minority & tribal population, you have the immature dynast making the same ramblings & rantings that have been rejected by courts & court of public opinion!" the BJP spokesperson said.
At the beginning of his speech, Rahul Gandhi said Indian democracy is under pressure, under attack and everybody knows that. "Opposition leaders in India are navigating that space. What's happening? The institutional framework which is required for democracy, Parliament, free press, Judiciary -- these are all getting constrained. We are facing an attack on the basic structure of Indian democracy," Rahul Gandhi said.
"In the Constitution, India is described as a union of states and that union requires a negotiation, a conversation. It's slightly different from other countries. You can think about it much more at the scale of Europe -- multiple different states, much, much bigger than Europe -- requiring a conversation and negotiation to move forward. And it's that negotiation that is coming under threat," Rahul added.
Showing the photo of opposition leaders being detained in front of Parliament, Rahul Gandhi said, "This happened a number of times and relatively violently. You have also heard about the attack on minorities and the press. You get a sense of what is going on."
"Indian democracy is a public good. It is by far the largest democracy -- at least 50% of people who live in a democratic society live in India. So preserving and defending Indian democracy is more than just about India. It's actually about defending the democratic structure on the planet,' Rahul Gandhi said.
"I myself had Pegasus on my phone. A large number of politicians have Pegasus on their phones. I've been called by Intelligence officers who say please be careful of what you say on phone as we are sort of recording the stuff. This is a constant pressure that we feel," the Congress MP added.
"I have got a number of criminal libel cases for things that you know should, under no circumstances, be criminal libel cases. But that's the story. We found that it's very difficult as the opposition to communicate with the people when there is such an assault on the media, on the democratic architecture," Rahul Gandhi said
- Rahul Gandhi