Rahul Gandhi’s charged speech in parliament this evening has drawn strong criticism from the government and sharp rebuttals are being posted on Twitter by Union Ministers. In his 45-minute speech, Mr Gandhi, 51, targeted the government on Pegasus controversy, India-China border row, unemployment, farmers’ protest among other issues.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi was among those who condemned the remarks: “Rahul Gandhi is confused… he said India is not a nation. He doesn’t under the history of India. He has lost his mind.”
“The Judiciary, the Election Commission, and Pegasus… these are all instruments used for destroying the voice of the union of the states,” he said, slamming the centre.
Minutes later, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju sought an apology from the former Congress chief.
“Not only as India’s Law Minister but also as an ordinary citizen, I condemn what Mr. Rahul Gandhi has said about India’s judiciary and EC. These are vital institutions of our democracy. Mr. Rahul Gandhi should immediately apologise to the people, judiciary, and EC (sic).”
“We know that Rahul Gandhi doesn’t believe in democracy and he has no regard for Constitutional Authorities. We don’t take his habitual senseless comments seriously but since he has abused Constitutional Authorities from the Parliament house, he must tender unconditional apology (sic),” he said in another post.
In another remark, Rahul Gandhi expressed concern over the India-China border issue. “I am very worried about my country standing where it’s standing. You’re putting this nation and its people at huge risk. You (the government) have brought China and Pakistan together. We have made huge strategic mistakes in Jammu and Kashmir.”
“Ask yourself why you are not able to get a guest on Republic Day. India today is completely isolated and surrounded,” Mr Gandhi said.
To this, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar responded in a series of tweets: “Rahul Gandhi alleged in Lok Sabha that it is this government which brought Pakistan and China together. Perhaps, some history lessons are in order: -In 1963, Pakistan illegally handed over the Shaksgam valley to China. -China built the Karakoram highway through PoK in the 1970s.”
He also dismissed the Wayanad MP’s Republic Day claim. “In Lok Sabha, @RahulGandhi said we could not get a foreign guest for Republic Day. Those who live in India know we were in the midst of a corona wave. The 5 Central Asian Presidents, who were to come, did hold a virtual summit on Jan 27. Did Rahul Gandhi miss that as well? (sic)”