Taking on Modi govt in LS, Rahul speaks on Intolerance

RSTV Bureau
File Photo ( PTI )

File Photo ( PTI )

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi strongly came down on the Modi government while speaking in Lok Sabha during the debate on ‘intolerance’. In his nearly 30-minute speech, Gandhi attacked the BJP-led NDA government on the issues of Dadri lynching, murders of the rationalist thinkers, General VK Singh’s controversial remarks on Dalit killings in Haryana and even police action against the Patidaar sub-community protestors in Gujarat.

Rahul Gandhi’s speech was subject to repeated protest from the members of ruling combine and on few occasions Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had to calm down the tempers.

“The Prime Minister speaks about economic growth and development and at the same time his colleague speaks of sending film actors to Pakistan,” Rahul Gandhi said criticising remarks made by some BJP leaders against film actors Aamir Khan and Shahrukh Khan. The two had off-late opined that instance of “intolerance” is on a rise.

Referring to protest by writers, authors, film-makers and other eminent personalities against the ‘rising intolerance’ in the country, he added “The best writers, intellectuals and artists give their awards back as a sign of protest. The government does not even bother to speak to them… (Union Finance minister) Arun Jaitley ji simply says it’s all manufactured!”

“For me the real authors of the constitution were people the Prime Minister did not spend much time on in his speech. They are the people of this country,” Gandhi said early in his speech referring to PM Modi’s speech in Lok Sabha last week during special discussion on the Constitution marking 125th birth anniversary of Dr. BR Ambedkar.

Training his guns at the incumbent BJP-led NDA government, he cited MoS External Affairs and former army chief Gen VK Singh’s controversial remarks over the murders of two Dalit toddlers in Ballabgarh, Haryana.

“I am looking here, and I can’t see Gen VK Singh. A General who likened Dalit children to dogs… He has directly challenged the constitution and the fundamental right to equality by equating Dalit children to dogs,” Rahul Gandhi said amid applause from his party MPs.

“Our Prime Minister allows this man to continue as minister as if nothing has happened,” he added further criticising Gen VK Singh.

Raising the shocking incident of mob lynching in Dadri, where a 50-year-old man was killed over the rumours that his family ate and stored beef, the Congress party Vice President said, “Mohd Akhlaq, father of a young Air Force man Mohd Sartaj who is serving our nation, is killed in cold blood just because he is a Muslim… His message for all of us after his father’s brutal murder, was: Saare Jahan se accha Hindustan Hamara,Majhab Nahi Sikhata Aapas Mai Bair Rakhna”.

“The Prime Minister of India remains silent. He does not see the contradiction,” Gandhi went on to say eliciting strong protest from the MPs of ruling BJP.

In a seeming strategy to gherao the NDA government on nearly every issue that had been in public discourse off-late, Rahul Gandhi took up the Chairman row in FTII, where the stalemate between authorities and striking students saw a 139-day protest. The students were protesting against the appointment of BJP member and TV actor Gajendra Chauhan as the Chairman of the FTII. Chauhan still continues to be the Chairman of the premier film making institute.

“The Government talks of Skill India…. Yet when FTII students with superb skills go on strike because a mediocre man is placed in a top institution, the govt simply tries to crush and intimidate them,” he said.

“Dabholkarji, Pansareji and Kalburgiji are shot dead in cold blood by fanatics. The Prime Minster has nothing to say,” Gandhi added further.

Alleging that “today in India protest means sedition,” Rahul strongly criticised the BJP-run state government in Gujarat claiming 20,000 FIRs were filed against the protesting Patidars leaders.

“Will the PM start to listen to the voice of our people? Or will he stand by and watch as his colleagues trample on the voice of this country?” the Congress Vice President said concluding his speech amid heated exchange between the ruling party MPs and Congress members.