Rahul Gandhi accepts invitation to take part in debate with PM Modi

In a letter released by the Congress, Mr. Gandhi says that either he or party president Mallikarjun Kharge would be willing to participate in a debate with the Prime Minister

Updated - May 12, 2024 12:41 am IST

Published - May 11, 2024 07:03 pm IST - New Delhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses a public meeting for the Lok Sabha elections.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses a public meeting for the Lok Sabha elections. | Photo Credit: ANI

Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi accepted an invitation by two prominent jurists and a senior editor to participate in a public debate.

Retired Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B. Lokur, former Delhi High Court Chief Justice Ajit P. Shah, and former editor-in-chief of The Hindu N. Ram had on May 9 invited Mr. Gandhi and Mr. Modi to a public debate that would be “on a non-partisan and non-commercial platform”.

Also read: Lok Sabha elections updates- May 11

Mr. Gandhi wrote in the letter, a copy of which was released by the party on May 11, that either he or Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge would attend the debate, and that he had discussed the invite with Mr. Kharge before responding to the invitation.


“As the principal parties fighting the election, the public deserve to hear from their leaders directly,” Mr. Gandhi’s response reads. “Please do let us know if and when the Prime Minister agrees to participate, following which we can discuss the details and format of the debate.”

The invitation left the option open to both leaders to nominate a representative for the debate, “only if either of [them] is unable to” attend.

For a healthy democracy

The invitation cited “important questions to the core of our constitutional democracy”, and raised concerns that “we have heard only allegations and challenges from either side, and not heard any meaningful responses.”

A debate would be healthy for Indian democracy, the invitation stated, adding that the place, moderators and other modalities of the event would be agreed upon by consensus of both participants.

Mr. Modi and the spokespersons for the BJP did not immediately comment on Saturday evening on Mr. Gandhi’s willingness to participate in the debate. Mr. Gandhi had earlier indicated his “100%” readiness to debate Mr. Modi while speaking at an event in Lucknow on Friday, but added that “I know the Prime Minister will not debate with me”.

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