Didn’t seek foreign intervention: Rahul Gandhi defends his ‘democracy under attack’ remark at Par panel meet
The exchanges marred the meeting where the principal agenda was India’s G20 presidency, with Congress MP Shashi Tharoor tweeting, “A good meeting of the Consultative Committee on External Affairs today on India’s foreign policy objectives in the G20 was somewhat marred by some members needlessly politicising the discussion. Rahul Gandhi robustly responded to them and it ended with an amicable group photograph.”
Tharoor also tweeted the picture of panel members with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. At the meeting, BJP MP G V L Narasimha Rao is learnt to have said that India is the “mother of democracy but concerted efforts were underway to undermine the country”.
Rao cited the “Hindenburg report on industrialist Gautam Adani; the recent remarks by George Soros about a government change in India and the BBC documentary” to make his point.
Rao also said, “Some people have spoken things…but the real blot on Indian democracy was the Emergency.” According to the sources, later one more BJP MP questioned Gandhi’s UK remarks without naming him, while Priyanka Chaturvedi of Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray) argued that Indian democracy, strong as it is, “should not get deterred by random comments of people or some documentary”.
After everyone had spoken following a presentation on G20 by the foreign secretary (where Gandhi did not offer any comments), the former Congress chief intervened and said he wanted to respond since BJP members had spoken about him.
At this point, Gandhi said “attack on India’s democracy was evident”, but added that he never sought any foreign intervention in the matter.
The sources said Jaishankar, chair of the meeting, urged Gandhi to reserve his remarks on the subject for the Parliament, but the latter insisted on his right to respond and is learnt to have asked whether or not the “ED was targeting opposition leaders only”.
Nominated BJP MP Mahesh Jethmalani intervened and said Gandhi should not bring his “personal angst into a meeting meant to discuss G20”, the sources said.
Gandhi is, however, said to have argued that it was the BJP MPs who veered from the main topic, which was why he needed to reply.
Gandhi, sources said, also questioned the take that the Hindenburg report was an attack on Indian democracy and said, “The report is about financial dealings of a crony capitalist. Adani is not India.”
Another BJP MP, without taking names, claimed that Emergency was a “blot on India’s democracy” and some people are trying to divert attention.
The BJP leaders have launched a major offensive against Gandhi both inside and outside Parliament and are demanding a public apology from him for what it alleged has insulted the country and its institutions on foreign soil.
BJP plans campaign against Rahul Gandhi’s ‘insult to backwards’
Union minister Smriti Irani, who defeated Gandhi in the 2019 general election from Amethi, termed his refusal to apologise to the OBC community for his “indecent” comments yet another “manifestation of the Gandhi family’s political arrogance”.
State denied legitimate funds, claims West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee
“In the name of GST, the Centre is taking all the money. It was our fault to support it. We thought various states would benefit from it,” Banerjee said. “But now the Centre is not paying money for 100-day projects and other Central schemes.”
She said that MGNREGA funds worth ₹7,000 crore were yet to be paid besides funds allocated for other central welfare plans, such as rural-road building, PM Awas Yojana and scholarships for needy students.”I will arrange alternative work for the 100-day job-card holders for several projects in the state, including rural road construction, and PWD projects,” Banerjee said. “The Centre is not paying money for 100-day MGNREGA work from last year. We have decided to construct 12,000 km-long rural roads, and 100-day job card holders will be deployed and receive an alternative employment.”
She has already announced that she will sit for a two-day dharna near Dr Ambedkar Statue in the city, starting from tomorrow, against deprivation of the state and non-disbursal of funds by the Centre. Similar protests will be organized by the Trinamool workers all across the state.
In all gram panchayats, altogether 9,000-plus roads will be constructed, totalling more than 12,000 km in length, Banerjee said. “In 22 districts, work will be undertaken in 30,000 villages and expenditure will be approximate nearing Rs 4,000 crore,” the chief minister said.”Launched today, the Pathashree-Rastashree project will ensure better connectivity through 12,000 km of roads in 22 districts. With this, we take another step forward in the direction of development,” she said.
As Rahul Gandhi decides to move out, Mallikarjun Kharge offers his residence
Within a day after he received the official directive, Gandhi wrote back to the concerned official of the Lok Sabha secretariat. “As an elected member of the Lok Sabha over the last 4 terms, it is the mandate of the people to which I owe the happy memories of my time spent here. Without prejudice to my rights, I will, of course , abide by the details contained in your letter.” Gandhi has one month to vacate the house and his letter meant he was not seeking an extended stay there.
Kharge lashed out at the government for asking Gandhi even as he made his own suggestion and offer. “He can go and live with his mother or he can come to me, I will vacate one (his official residence) for him,” he said.
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