Kerala to Punjab to Assam… Rahul takes on Centre

RSTV Bureau

PM Narendra Modi-Rahul GandhiCongress vice president Rahul Gandhi took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP-led NDA government over host of issues Monday morning. Addressing press at Parliament House, Rahul Gandhi listed barrage of allegations against the incumbent ranging from the controversy over not inviting Kerala CM Oommen Chandy in PM Modi’s event, to law and order issue in Punjab. He also alleged that “RSS workers stopped him” from paying visit to a temple in Assam.

Beginning his presser, Rahul Gandhi raised the issue of Kerala CM alleging that Prime Minister Modi has insulted the people of Kerala.

“The PM has insulted the people of Kerala by stopping our Chief Minister from attending a function. Chief Minister of Kerala represents the people of Kerala. Chief Minister of Kerala is the voice of the people of Kerala and the Prime Minister had insulted that voice. This is simply not acceptable to us,” he said.

The controversy had erupted last week over the decision of Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalanayogam (SNDP), an organisation of backward Ezhava community, to exclude CM Chandy from attending the unveiling of former Chief Minister R Sankar’s statue by the Prime Minister in Kollam on Tuesday.

Reacting to the controversy, Oommen Chandy had expressed that he was “deeply saddened” over not being invited to the function.

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FILE: File photo of Kerala CM Oommen Chandy. Photo – PTI

The Congress party has also been able to earn backing over this issue, with RSP MP from Kollam, NK Premachandran, saying he will not be attending PM Modi’s function in protest against the exclusion of CM Chandy. Kollam Mayor Advocate Rajendra Babu and CPI (M) MLA PK Gurudasan have already announced that they will boycott the function.

Speaking further in his presser, Rahul Gandhi took on the ruling Akali Dal-BJP government in Punjab, claiming that innocent people have been butchered in the state. Both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha are witnessing a strong protest with Congress party MPs raising the issue of law and order situation in Punjab following the killings of Dalits last weekend.

“You are all aware what has happened in Punjab. Innocent people have been butchered. This is completely out of order, out of line,” Rahul said.

Soon after his protest, the Congress members raised an angry protest in both the houses of Parliament resorting to sloganeering against the ruling combine in the state. The Upper house has already witnessed four adjournments due to the protest.

“The current government in Punjab ruled by Alkali Dal and BJP is even worst than extremism… It is our demand that the state govt be dismissed,” leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad spoke strongly even as his party MPs continue to stage protest in the Well of the Upper house.

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Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi with party MPs Tarun Gogoi and Sushmita Deb during his visit to Assam last week. Photo – PTI

The vice-chief of the principal opposition party also claimed that he was stopped from entering a temple in Barpeta by the RSS workers during recent visit to Assam last weekend.

Alleging that this was the BJP’s style of politics, Rahul Gandhi told, “When I went to Assam I wanted to visit a temple in Barpeta district. And at the temple the RSS people they stopped me entering the temple. This is the way the BJP operates”.

“They made women there stand in front of me and told me that I cannot enter into the temple… Who are they to stop me?” a seeming aggressive-looking Rahul Gandhi added.

Meanwhile, Union Home minister Rajnath Singh gave a statement on the floor of Lok Sabha on the issue of Kerala CM not sent an invite, clarifying that the government at the Centre has nothing to do with the incident.

Dissatisfied with the Home minister’s reply, Congress, TMC and Left MPs staged a walkout from Lok Sabha.

(With inputs from the PTI)