Rahul Gandhi Cambridge University
In his lecture, Rahul had alleged that Indian democracy is under attack and several politicians, including himself, are under surveillance. Photo: Twitter/Sam Pitroda

Rahul's Cambridge remarks: Congress hits back at BJP's criticism

The Congress on Saturday (March 4) hit back at the BJP for criticising Rahul Gandhi’s remarks at the Cambridge University, saying the ruling party’s statements either stem from ignorance or from “completely contrived politics” both of which have no place in a democracy.

Rahul’s remarks at the university that Indian democracy is under attack and several politicians, including himself, are under surveillance, has triggered a political slugfest with the BJP accusing him of maligning India on foreign soil and the Congress hitting back by citing instances of Prime Minister Narendra Modi raking up internal politics abroad.

Addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters in Delhi, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said Rahul is a leading member of India’s politics and as a member of a party which was in power earlier as well as a leading member of the Opposition, he has consistently stood for and espoused the causes of the common man.

Also read: Indian democracy under attack, politicians under surveillance: Rahul at Cambridge University

Rahul is a four-time elected MP and when he speaks in Cambridge about a world that is fraught with tensions and what an important role India can play in that world, he is actually lauding Indian democracy, Shrinate argued.

“He is being the flag-bearer of the values our nation is built on. When he talks about Mahatma Gandhi and the values of our Constitution and the foundation of our country he is actually bringing India a lot of pride. I don’t understand where it stems from but the BJP’s opposition (to his remarks) is either ignorance or completely contrived politics both of which have no place in a democracy,” she said.

Shrinate said the BJP attacking Rahul on two grounds that he spoke on foreign soil and about Pegasus is “hollow” because Prime Minister Modi has gone ahead and spoken “much worse, washed dirty linen in public, and made baseless allegations against India’s political system, political Opposition when he was travelling overseas to the extent that while in Shanghai, he had said that people in this country curse as why were they born in India”.

Also read: India is a bright spot despite Rahul Gandhi’s lack of brightness: BJP

Defending Rahul’s remarks alleging that he and other Opposition leaders were put on surveillance, Shrinate said the Pegasus fact-finding committee told the court in no uncertain terms that the government of the day did not cooperate with that committee.

She alleged that a section of the media as part of a “coordinated action” “mischievously” quoted him on Pulwama and China.

Shrinate questioned how anyone can say that Rahul did not “call it (Pulwama) a terror attack”. “He said showing a picture, This is me putting flowers on the spot where almost 40 soldiers were killed by a car bomb,” she said.

When Pulwama happened Prime Minister Modi kept shooting for Man versus Wild, Shrinate alleged.

Also read: Those who failed in country playing games abroad: Naqvi on Rahul’s Cambridge remarks

The Congress leader also attacked the Modi government for what she said was its “love affair” with China, alleging that the prime minister gave a clean chit to China undermining India’s position on the border issue.

In his lecture, Rahul had alleged that Indian democracy is under attack and several politicians, including himself, are under surveillance.

The former Congress president listed five key aspects of the alleged attack on Indian democracy – capture and control of media and judiciary; surveillance and intimidation; coercion by federal law enforcement agencies; attacks on minorities, Dalits and tribals; and shutting down of dissent.

Shrinate’s remarks came after the BJP sharpened its attack on Gandhi on Saturday, accusing the Congress leader of speaking against India in a foreign country and making such allegations about the conditions in the country which even Pakistan does not dare to do.

While the whole world is using good words to describe India, its main opposition leader is claiming on foreign soil that the country has been destroyed and democracy is no longer there while the judiciary and the media are in a bad shape, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra told reporters.

(With agency inputs)

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