» News » Smriti Irani slams Rahul, says people brought Cong to political perish

Smriti Irani slams Rahul, says people brought Cong to political perish

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Senjo M R
March 15, 2023 16:57 IST
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India's democracy is not in peril but the Congress party has been brought to "political perish" by the people for the kind of behaviour its leader Rahul Gandhi exhibited overseas, Union minister Smriti Irani said on Wednesday as the Bharatiya Janata Party stepped up the ante against the opposition leader over his recent remarks in the UK.

IMAGE: Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smriti Irani speaks to the media over the remarks made by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during his London visit, in New Delhi, March 15, 2023. Photograph: ANI Photo

Gandhi's grudge with Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken the shape of a grudge with India, she charged, demanding that the Wayanad MP of the Congress apologise to Parliament for his remarks.


During his interactions in the UK recently, Gandhi alleged that the structures of Indian democracy are under attack and there is a "full-scale assault" on the country's institutions.

His remarks triggered a massive political row, with the BJP accusing him of maligning India on foreign soil and seeking foreign interventions and the Congress hitting back, citing instances of Prime Minister Modi raising internal politics abroad.

Addressing a press conference, Irani alleged that "at the feet of India's colonial past" Gandhi lamented the "lack of foreign intervention" in India's democracy. This is to bring to a halt India's resilient growth story under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, she said.

She said the "lies that became a foundation of the Congress leader's conversation in England" were many.

The minister said Gandhi claimed that he does not have access to conversations in Indian universities and that for him was an indication of the death of democracy.

She alleged that the opposition leader visited a university in the national capital in 2016 and supported the slogan of Bharat tere tukde honge.

Gandhi also said that democracy is being "blown to smithereens" in India, Irani charged.

"However, this very gentleman in Jammu and Kashmir, during the 'Bharat jodo yatra', said all is well in India," she said.

"Which was a lie, Mr Gandhi? Your statement in India or your statement in England?" she asked.

Irani alleged Rahul Gandhi during his interactions in the UK not only attacked the magnificence of the country's Parliament but also the supremacy of the institutions "such as the Supreme Court of India and the Election Commission of India."

"When the Gandhi family directs Congressmen and women to tear papers and throw them at the Speaker's chair in Lok Sabha, is that democracy," she asked.

"When the Gandhi family directs Congress members in Rajya Sabha to tear books and jump on tables and humiliate the chair of the Vice President of India in Parliament, is that democracy?" she added.

The Union minister said, every Indian citizen demands an apology from Gandhi as Parliament is not merely an amalgamation of the parliamentarians but the voice of the people of India and "the Constitutional reflection" of their will.

"It is shameful that Rahul Gandhi, instead of coming to Parliament and apologising for his undemocratic rant against India, today seeks to be absent from Parliament," she asserted.

"Democracy, Mr Gandhi, is not in peril. The Congress party has been brought to political perish by the people of India for this very behaviour that you exhibited against the nation-state overseas," she added.

His remarks were not just an insult to the parliamentary traditions but also an insult to patriots and those who made sacrifices for the freedom of the country, she charged.

The Congress leader's remarks were also an insult to the democratic systems and every citizen of the country who cast their votes, she added.

Victory and defeat are part of the political traditions in politics, the Union minister said.

"But, Rashtra Niti says that if you dare to trample the country's Parliament under your feet for political gains, the country will demand a reply. Parliament will demand a reply," she said.
Instead of running away from Parliament, Gandhi must apologise for insulting the "people of the country, the Constitution and the voters," she demanded. 

Meanwhile, the Congress on Wednesday accused the Modi government of "undermining and weakening" democracy in the country by stalling Parliament in order to save a businessman.

"What the government is doing in Parliament is a proof that democracy in the country is being undermined," Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate told reporters.

She said it is the duty of everyone to save democracy in the country and also of the media.

"The manner in which the BJP is destroying democracy in the country both inside and outside Parliament is in itself proof of how democracy is being weakened in the country," she alleged, adding any statement about the Adani Group is expunged.

Citing arrest of a journalist for asking questions about the bad condition of roads in Uttar Pradesh and the elected government being run down with money power, she asked, "Is this not undermining democracy".

Shrinate also targeted Irani for her remarks against Rahul Gandhi, and accused her of heading the "troll ministry" in the Modi government which targets the former Congress chief.

Asking why the BJP is so "disturbed" about the remarks made by Gandhi, she said, "We feel that the uproar created inside Parliament is being spearheaded by the BJP itself and this is to save Adani".

The Congress leader alleged that BJP members are stalling Parliament as they do not want any allegations to be made against the Adani Group inside Parliament and that is why ministers are themselves disrupting the House.

"This is what is called undermining democracy and this is exactly what Rahul Gandhi has stated...Indian democracy is a public good and the fate of our democracy is going to decide democracies on this planet. This is the bigger issue," she noted.

Taking on the Trinamool Congress for not being a part of the opposition march to the Enforcement Directorate on the Adani issue, she said, "The BJP is misusing agencies and these agencies have become a puppet and a frontal of the BJP and if one does not raise one's voice against it then questions will be raised on one's intentions and one's role."

Shrinate said if the BJP has problems with Rahul Gandhi's remarks, they should hear the prime minister's remarks made in China, Korea and other countries.

Why is the ruling establishment scared of the question, she asked, adding that if the government thinks what Rahul Gandhi has said is wrong, let the issue be discussed in Parliament.

"When a Congress MP speaks on Adani in Parliament, 18 parts of his speech are expunged and the leader of opposition's speech has been expunged in Rajya Sabha. Is that not weakening democracy," she asked.

"Is the weakening of democracy not vivid when journalists are being arrested for asking tough questions. Is it not weakening democracy when elected governments are toppled through money power and through misuse of agencies," Shrinate said.

"Is it not weakening of agencies when 95 percent of cases by ED are against opposition parties and there has been a four-fold increase of cases filed by the agency."

Is it not weakening democracy when you put every democratic value at bay? Have you ever heard ruling party members standing and stalling Parliament so that the Adani issue is not raised in Parliament and you think questions will not be raised," she said.

Attacking Irani, she said, the tukde-tukde gang was started by Savarkar when he espoused division of country and it is being allegedly continued by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he is trying to divide the country on the basis of region, religion, caste, creed, language and now even states are made to fight with each other.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Senjo M R© Copyright 2023 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.