Rahul Gandhi takes on Modi, RSS on Khadi controversy

Rajat Kain

Rishikesh: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi addressing a meeting of party workers in Rishikesh, Jan 16, 2017. Photo - PTI

Rishikesh: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi addressing a meeting of party workers in Rishikesh, Jan 16, 2017.
Photo – PTI

Addressing his party worker in poll-bound Uttarakhand, Congress party vice president Rahul Gandhi took on the ruling party over string of issues, especially over the latest row on Khadi featuring Prime Minister Modi’s photo on its calendar and diary last week.

“….now they have replaced Gandhiji… Modiji is featured on the Khadi calendar and his minister says, Modi is a bigger brand than Mahatma Gandhi,” he said even criticising Haryana minister Anil Vij’s controversial remark.

“The one who took three bullets on his chest in the name of this tri-colour (national flag), he has been removed by Modi saying he is not required anymore,” Rahul Gandhi lashed out further.

Also referring to RSS – the ideological fountainhead of the ruling BJP – the Congress vice president alleged that for “52 years RSS have never hoisted tricolour. They saluted to a saffron flag and not to our tricolour”.

FILE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. Photo - PTI

FILE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
Photo – PTI

The north-Indian hill state will go to poll in a single phase on February 15. Already grappling with the issues of rebellion, weak organisation and anti-incumbency, Congress is up in a straight fight against the BJP, which has absorbed several of its rebels and former strong MLAs.

However, Gandhi’s speech may court a controversy for he once again referred to religious figures and saints while talking of his party’s ‘hand palm’ symbol.

“You will see this symbol in every religion… Have you seen the photos of Lord Shiva, Gautam Budhha, Guru Nanakji and even in Islam when praying they use hand? It means never be afraid. Every religion teaches us that,” Rahul Gandhi said.

The BJP has already approached the election commission over his similar remarks in a Congress party event last week in New Delhi. In its application before the poll panel, the BJP has sought strict action against Rahul Gandhi and even “disqualification” of the Congress party.

Taking on PM Modi over the issue of demonetisation, he once again raised the question on the autonomy of Reserve Bank.

“Demonetisation decision is made and RBI governor only gets to know a day before. Within a minute, this decades old institution was destroyed… Only one person wants to run this country,” he alleged.

Dubbing Modi government as the one for “chosen 50 big industrialists”, the Congress vice president also called several of government initiatives as mere “photo-ops”.