Rahul Gandhi today denied giving any anti-India speech on his way to attending parliament, where the ruling BJP has repeatedly demanded his apology for his remarks in London raising concerns about the state of democracy in India.
“I didn’t give any Anti India speech,” Rahul Gandhi told NDTV.
Asked whether he would respond to the BJP’s allegation that he insulted the nation on foreign soil, the Congress MP said: “I will speak inside the House if they allow me to.”
Several Union Ministers have demanded that Mr Gandhi apologise to the nation for his speeches in the UK, seen to be critical of the government.
“The person who speaks the most in this country, and targets the government day and night, says abroad that he does not have the freedom to speak in India,” Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju told reporters.
“Rahul Gandhi can sink the Congress, we don’t care. But if he tries to harm or insult the nation, we as citizens cannot be silent. Just because the country has rejected the Congress leadership, doesn’t mean he can tarnish the nation abroad,” he added.
The Law Minister said Rahul Gandhi spoke the language of anti-India forces.
“It is very sad that an MP lowers the prestige of parliament. Anti-India forces all speak the same language. All anti-India gang members talk on same lines. They repeat whatever Rahul Gandhi says,” Mr Rijiju railed.
The Congress has ruled out an apology, pointing out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has often attacked the Congress on his trips abroad.
“I want to ask those who are seeking an apology that Modiji went to five-six countries and there he (Modi) humiliated our country saying it was a sin to be born in India, now these people same people are curbing freedom of expression,” Mr Kharge said.
At a lecture at Cambridge University, the Congress MP said the Indian democracy is under pressure and opposition voices are being stifled.
Rahul Gandhi had said, “Everybody knows and it’s been in the news a lot that Indian democracy is under pressure and under attack. I am an Opposition leader in India, we are navigating that (Opposition) space. The institutional framework which is required for democracy is Parliament, free press, and the judiciary, just the idea of mobilisation, and moving around all are getting constrained. So, we are facing an attack on the basic structure of Indian democracy.”
The Congress and other opposition parties have accused the ruling BJP of trying to deflect attention from the Adani-Hindenburg row and ducking demands for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to investigate the allegations of Hindenburg against the Adani Group. The Adani Group has strongly denied allegations of stock fraud and share price manipulation.