Rahul Gandhi owes an apology to all Indians: BJP

The BJP will run a campaign on the issue if no apology is forthcoming, says former Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, adding that Mr. Gandhi’s comments cannot be a “barometer” of Indian democracy’s success

Published - March 16, 2023 07:31 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Ravi Shankar Prasad. File

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Ravi Shankar Prasad. File | Photo Credit: ANI

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday said that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi “owed” an apology to the “140 crore people of India” following his remarks abroad on the “fall of democracy“ in India. The BJP added that if an apology was not forthcoming, the party would launch a campaign around the issue.

Former Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad made these remarks while addressing a press briefing at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi. Slamming Mr. Gandhi’s claim that whether he is permitted to speak in Parliament or not is a test of democracy, Mr. Prasad said that his comments could not become the “barometer” of success or failure of democracy.

The remarks came on a day when Law Minister Kiren Rijiju kept up the BJP’s campaign to raise this issue every day of the Parliament session, while Mr. Gandhi held his own press conference where he said that he had asked Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla for time to speak in Parliament.

‘Derailing democracy’

“Rahul Gandhi has made it into a habit to derail Indian democracy, criticise it and demean whenever he goes abroad. In his presser, he did not express any regrets over his remarks. We are clear that Rahul Gandhi must apologise and we will campaign across the country if he does not,” said Mr. Prasad.

He pointed out that Mr Gandhi was an elected MP from Wayanad, and noted that the Congress party had recently won “a closely fought election” in Himachal Pradesh. “If you win elections, democracy is fine but when you lose, Indian democray is under threat? If you are not being voted in, its because of of your acts of omission and commission. Talking without any basis of fact has become a habit with Rahul Gandhi and in his presser today he did not deny his remarks even once,” added Mr. Prasad. “We are familiar with your arrogance, Mr. Gandhi, but it is not above the country and the sentiment of 140 crore people,” he said.

When it was pointed out that Mr. Gandhi had said that as a parlimentarian he would first speak inside Parliament on his remarks, Mr. Prasad said that he had made his remarks at a meeting organised by civil society and not in Parliament.

‘Anti-India language’

Earlier in the day, Mr. Rijiju said that people “will question law makers if they don’t condemn the act of a fellow MP” and seek his apology on the floor of the House for his comments in London.

“We speak in the interest of the public, but all the anti-India forces and gang have the same language and line. The language spoken by Rahul Gandhi is the same language spoken by those working against India, conspiring against India. He will have to apologise in Parliament. It is our duty to seek his apology,” he said.

‘Completely false’

Mr. Rijiju said that Mr. Gandhi had “lied” about India in London. First, he said he was not allowed to speak in Parliament, which was “totally incorrect” as he spoke more than the allocated time and “he spoke freely”. Secondly, Mr. Rijiju said, Mr. Gandhi said he was not allowed to speak in colleges and universities which was also, according to him, “completely false”.

“During his yatra, he spoke everyday multiple times, day and night, criticising the government. Rahul Gandhi is the most spoken person in the country,” he said.

Both Houses of Parliament were again adjourned without any transaction of business for the fourth day in a row on Thursday.

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