Doesn’t behove Narendra Modi to laugh, crack jokes in Parliament when Manipur is ‘on fire’: Rahul Gandhi


NEW DELHI: Stepping up the attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Manipur violence, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday alleged that he wants the ”state to burn and has allowed it” by not using any tools available with the government to douse the fire there.

Addressing a press conference at AICC headquarters here, the former Congress chief also said it does not behove the Indian Prime Minister to laugh and crack jokes in Parliament when Manipur has been ”on fire” for the past four months. ”Women and children are dying over there, women are being molested and raped and the Prime Minister of India is sitting in the middle of Parliament and laughing. This is not about Rahul Gandhi, it is not about the Congress, it is not about opposition, it is about India, it is about our country. A state has been decimated, it does not exist anymore and it has happened because of the politics of the BJP — divide and rule and burn,” Gandhi alleged.

”That is why in my speech (in Lok Sabha) I said Bharat Mata has been murdered in Manipur. For the first time, the words Bharat Mata have been expunged from Parliament. It is an insult to those words. What is it that I have said is wrong? I have said Bharat Mata, which is the idea of India, where everybody lives peacefully, harmoniously and with affection, has been killed in Manipur, it is a fact,” he asserted.

Criticising Modi for his speech, Rahul said in his more than two-hour-long address, the Prime Minister spoke on Manipur for ”just two minutes”. He said he watched the Prime Minister ”laughing, joking, and raising slogans in Parliament…He (PM) seems to have forgotten that the state of Manipur is on fire for four months.” It does not behove the Prime Minister that when there is violence in the country, he indulges in ”making fun for two hours”, he said.

Hitting back, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi rebutted Gandhi’s charge that the words ‘Bharat Mata’ in his speech were expunged from Lok Sabha proceedings, claiming he lacks understanding and seems to have ”lost his mental balance”.

”The term ‘Bharat Mata’ has not been expunged. What was unparliamentary has been expunged. It appears from whatever statements he (Rahul Gandhi) has made today that he has lost his mental balance,” Joshi said.

Another union minister Anurag Thakur said Rahul Gandhi’s ”launch” has once again failed and ”flopped”. Accusing the Congress leader of using foul language, Thakur said no son of ‘Bharat Mata’ can think or talk about her ”murder”. ”His language clearly shows how they want to defame the country,” he said.

Gandhi’s sharp attack against Modi came a day after the Prime Minister slammed the opposition in his over two-hour reply to the motion of no-confidence against his government in Lok Sabha. The opposition leader said he had full faith in the Indian Army, which can set the situation right and bring it under control within two days, but the Prime Minister was not doing so. It would take the Indian Army two days to put an end to the ”nonsense” going on there, he said and added ”There are reasons for the PM not being able to go to Manipur. I don’t want to speak about them publicly.”

”The Prime Minister refuses to stop the fire, he wants Manipur to burn, he allows Manipur to burn because if he did want it to stop, there are tools in the hands of the government that can stop it immediately,” Gandhi alleged.

Gandhi said his remarks that Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah had ”murdered Bharat Mata in Manipur” were not hollow words as he had for the first time in his 19 years in politics been told in a state that if he takes a person from one community (either Meitei or Kuki) in his security detail to the area of another community, they will shoot that security personnel.

”I have never heard in my entire career in India that if you take this person as a security officer, we will put a bullet in his head. That means there is no dialogue in Manipur and there is pure violence taking place in Manipur,” he noted. ”The Prime Minister could at least go to Manipur, talk to the communities and say I’m your Prime Minister and let’s start talking. It would be taken seriously. So, I don’t see any intention,” he said.

Gandhi said the central security personnel told him in Manipur that they had never seen anything like what was happening in Manipur.

”That is why I said the idea of India has been murdered by the BJP in Manipur. I was not speaking metaphorically, I was speaking literally,” the ex-Congress chief said.

Manipur no longer exists as a state because the state requires control and authority which have disappeared from there, he said.

He claimed that the Prime Minister ”ridiculed” the state and the women there in his address in the Lok Sabha.

”Manipur has been burning now for four months and the Prime Minister is in a very good mood. He is sitting in Parliament, he is laughing, he is joking and his entire cabinet is in giggles, this to me seems completely insane. This has got to stop, India is burning in Manipur, and the idea of India has been destroyed in Manipur. Let’s rebuild it quickly,” he noted.

The first step, he said, is to stop violence and put an end to it. ”He (PM) is doing nothing and he is laughing. I am amazed, people can see this, that he is sitting in Parliament and laughing.” Gandhi asserted that when a person becomes the Prime Minister, he ceases to be a politician and should become the representative of the voice of the people.

”The politics should be put aside and the Prime Minister should not speak as a petty politician, as the leader of a political party, but he should speak with the weight of the Indian people behind him. It is tragic to watch Narendra Modi, it is sad because the Prime Minister does not understand what he actually is,” Gandhi said.

He said the Prime Minister should understand that the discussion in Parliament was not about him, but about Manipur, as a state has been ”murdered” and ”Bharat Mata has been murdered” but the Prime Minister is making fun, raising slogans.

”He is our representative, he is my representative and watching the Prime Minister spend two hours talking about the Congress, talking about the opposition, making ridiculous remarks about the name (of the opposition alliance), this really does not do justice to an Indian Prime Minister,” he said.

Gandhi said he has seen previous prime ministers including Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and H D Deve Gowda. ”There is a complete misunderstanding in the mind of Narendra Modi ji about what the Prime Minister of India is,” he said.

Gandhi reiterated his assertion that ”Hindustan has been murdered by BJP in Manipur”.

Asked about the Union Home Minister’s comments that the chief minister there is cooperating, Gandhi said, the violence is going on and does Amit Shah want it to continue. ”The chief minister is unable to stop violence and Amit Shah says he is agreeing with us. Does he want Manipur to keep burning,” he asked.

On the suspension of MPs, he said, whether they suspend MPs or reinstate them, our work will not change and we aim to stop what is happening in Manipur. ”We will continue to use all tools in our hands to stop the violence in Manipur.” Wherever there is an attack on ‘Bharat Mata’, he said, ”You will find me standing there and protecting ‘Bharat Mata’.” Prime Minister Modi slammed the opposition alliance INDIA as a collection of arrogant dynasties who will take India back by two centuries as he exuded confidence that people will bless ‘garib ka beta’ with a record-breaking mandate in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.


Source: Press Trust of India

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