Digvijaya Singh puts Congress in a spot again with his statement

BJP leaders accuse Rahul Gandhi of inviting “foreign interference” in India’s internal matters

Updated - March 30, 2023 11:58 pm IST

Published - March 30, 2023 02:10 pm IST - New Delhi

Congress Rajya Sabha MP Digvijaya Singh. File

Congress Rajya Sabha MP Digvijaya Singh. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Digvijaya Singh’s tweet on Thursday to thank Germany for taking note of “how democracy is being compromised through persecution of Rahul Gandhi” has not only embarrassed his party but also given the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ammunition to target the Congress over “seeking foreign interference” in the country’s internal affairs.

Hours after Mr. Singh’s tweet, Congress communication chief Jairam Ramesh tried to control the damage by putting out a tweet that the Indian National Congress believes that Indian democratic processes themselves would deal with the threats posed to democracy. But by then, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju had already blamed Mr. Gandhi for “inviting foreign powers to interfere”.

In the tweet that triggered the political slugfest, Mr. Singh had said, “Thank you Germany Foreign Affairs Ministry and Richard Walker @rbsw for taking note of how Democracy is being compromised in India through persecution of @RahulGandhi.”

Since the beginning of the second leg of the Budget session on March 13, BJP members have been disrupting Parliament and demanding Mr. Gandhi’s apology for tarnishing India’s democratic credentials abroad and seeking foreign interference.

“Thank you Rahul Gandhi for inviting foreign powers for interference into India’s internal matters. Remember, Indian judiciary can’t be influenced by foreign interference. India won’t tolerate ‘foreign influence’ anymore because our Prime Minister is Shri @narendramodi ji,” tweeted Mr. Rijiju with a screenshot of Mr. Singh’s tweet.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur tweeted, “Disgrace to nation, @INCIndia & @RahulGandhi don’t believe to fight India’s democratic, political & legal battle within country, hence, invite foreign powers to interfere in our internal matter. But New India headed by @narendramodi Ji will not tolerate any foreign intervention.”

Mr. Singh’s tweet on Thursday is the latest in a series of his public statements that have embarrassed the Congress. In January, during the Bharat Jodo Yatra, when Mr. Singh claimed that the Narendra Modi government had given no proof of the Balakot airstrike, Mr. Gandhi publicly snubbed him saying that it was his [Mr. Singh’s] personal opinion.

Earlier too, Mr. Singh had put the UPA government in a spot when he questioned the authenticity of the 2008 Batla House encounter in Delhi and had once referred to terror mastermind Osama Bin Laden as “Osama ji”.

Without mentioning Mr. Singh or the Law Minister, Mr. Ramesh tweeted, “@INCIndia firmly believes that India’s democratic processes themselves have to deal with the threats posed to our democracy by Mr. Modi’s assault on our institutions & his politics of vendetta, intimidation, threats & harassment.”

“INC & Oppn parties will take him on fearlessly,” the Congress communication chief added.

Responding to Mr. Rijiju's tweet, Congress leader Pawan Khera, who heads the media and publicity department, tweeted, "Mr. Rijiju, why divert from the main issue? The issue is that the Prime Minister cannot answer Rahul Gandhi’s questions about Adani. Instead of misleading people, please answer the questions?".

On Wednesday, Germany had said that the “standards of judicial independence and fundamental democratic principles” should apply in the case of Mr. Gandhi after his disqualification as a member of Parliament (MP) following his conviction in a defamation case.

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