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Rahul Gandhi’s ‘rape in India’ remark rocks Lok Sabha

Members of Lok Sabha protest against Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi's remarks on December 13, 2019.

Members of Lok Sabha protest against Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi's remarks on December 13, 2019.   | Photo Credit: LSTV

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Several BJP members protested against the Congress leader’s alleged remarks in Jharkhand’s Godda district

The last day of the Lok Sabha in the Winter Session saw proceedings being adjourned twice and an uproar over Congress member Rahul Gandhi’s “rape in India” barb at Prime Minister Modi at an election rally in Jharkhand earlier this week. The issue simmered through the day, with BJP leaders approaching the Election Commission of India (ECI) over the remark, after protesting loudly in the Lok Sabha, and a demand led by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh seeking an apology from Mr. Gandhi.

Women members of the BJP, including Minister Smriti Irani, raised protests, leading Speaker Om Birla to adjourn the proceedings twice, before finally adjourning the House sine die. BJP MP Locket Chatterjee said Mr. Gandhi had insulted women and that all men were not rapists.

Mr. Gandhi had stated that while the Prime Minister had launched a manufacturing-led programme called “Make in India”, what was happening was “rape in India.”

The Defence Minister, in his interjection, said the government had started the 'Make in India' programme to transform India from an importing nation into an exporting one. “It is aimed at providing employment to youth in the country but people are now rhyming it with remarks which cannot be uttered,” he said. “Such members have no moral right to be a member of the Lok Sabha,” he added, demanding an apology from Mr. Gandhi.

Mr. Singh recalled that BJP members Ananth Hegde and Sadhavi Nirajan Jyoti had expressed regret in the House for remarks made outside. Both were then Ministers. Ms. Jyoti is a Minister in the present dispensation as well.

Kanimozhi defends Rahul

Amid the din, DMK's Kanimozhi defended Mr. Gandhi, as Congress members also came out of their seats in protest and asked the Speaker to take up the Question Hour. She said Mr. Gandhi did not make the remark in the House and that he was referring to cases of sexual assaults and violence against women in the country.

Congress leaders said Mr. Gandhi wanted to respond in the House but it was not allowed. Facing an aggressive ruling party in the Lok Sabha, the former Congress chief refused to apologise and accused the BJP of disrupting Parliament to divert any discussion on the turmoil in the Northeast over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

“As far as their [BJP's] demand for apologising, I am never going to apologise to them,” he told the media outside Parliament. In a tweet, he asked the Prime Minister to apologise for referring to Delhi as rape capital in an earlier election campaign

“Mr Modi should apologise. For burning the North East. For destroying India's economy. For this speech, a clip of which I'm attaching,” he tweeted along with an old video of Mr. Modi.

 

Mr. Gandhi also cited the allegation of rape against now expelled BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 1:57:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rahul-gandhis-rape-in-india-remark-rocks-lok-sabha/article30294817.ece

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