In what is being perceived as the Narendra Modi government’s most significant offensive, Ex-Congress MP Rahul Gandhi in counter spoke to the media on Saturday, March 25, a day after he was disqualified from the Lok Sabha due to his conviction in a defamation case.
Gandhi focused his criticism on the Centre, accusing BJP ministers and leaders of spreading falsehoods about him because he has been questioning PM Modi’s ties with business magnate Gautam Adani. He asserted that his disqualification and the attacks against him were aimed at distracting attention from his criticisms of the government’s alleged favoritism towards Adani.
Gandhi’s comments come at a time when the relationship between the BJP and Adani has been under increasing scrutiny, and the Congress leader’s focus on this issue is seen as an attempt to expose the alleged corruption and impropriety in the government’s dealings with Adani.
On Friday, a political war of words broke out across party lines as opposition leaders came out in support of Rahul Gandhi to denounce the Modi government’s actions, describing it as “autocratic” and “haughty.”
Gandhi, who was found guilty of criminal defamation by a Gujarat trial court on March 23, for comments he made in 2019 about the Modi surname, has been the subject of widespread criticism and condemnation from the opposition.
The disqualification of Gandhi from the Lok Sabha has sparked fresh debates and discussions around freedom of speech and the alleged suppression of dissent by the government. The opposition’s strong support for Gandhi is likely to escalate the political tensions in the country, which has been marked by deepening polarization and increasing confrontation between the ruling party and its opponents.
Rahul Gandhi Takes Aim at Modi-Adani Relationship in Press Conference
During his first press conference since being removed as a member of Lok Sabha, Rahul Gandhi focused on the purported connection between the BJP and industrialist Gautam Adani. He argued that his disqualification, targeted attacks on him for his comments, and portrayal as anti-OBC were all part of a scheme to divert attention from the Adani controversy.
Rahul Gandhi posed a single question regarding Gautam Adani’s shell companies, which had received investments worth ₹20,000 crore that were not Adani’s own funds. He questioned the identity of the money’s true owner.
Gandhi stated that he had provided evidence to Parliament about the relationship between Narendra Modi and Adani, but his comments were removed from the record.
He went on to claim that he had written a comprehensive letter to the Speaker, explaining how regulations were changed to give Adani control of airports, but received no response. Gandhi also said that his previous speech had been erased.
“Instead, the Ministers were accusing me of false accusations. I wrote to Speaker to request permission to refute these unfounded accusations. I even approached him and questioned why I was not permitted to speak. In response he smiled and said I can’t allow you to speak, ” the Ex-Wayanad MP said.
“I’ve been disqualified because the Prime Minister is afraid of my next speech.”- Rahul Gandhi
In a scathing attack against the PM, Rahul Gandhi further added that the PM himself doesn’t want him to address in the parliament, as Rahul would continue to question on the Adani issue. He added, ” The PM is terrified of the next speech that is going to come in, and they don’t want that speech to be in parliament, that’s the issue. That is why, first the distraction and now the disqualification.”
“I never sought for a foreign interference.”
Rahul Gandhi has denied making any anti-India statements during his visit to London and claimed that he only advocated for Indian problems to be solved by India itself. He has stated that he will continue to question the ownership of a ₹20,000 crore investment, regardless of any disqualification, intimidation, or imprisonment. He emphasized his commitment to defending democratic rights and equality among all communities. Mr. Gandhi clarified that the issue at hand is not about OBC, but about who the true owner of the investment is.
“My Name Is Not Savarkar, Won’t Apologize”- RaGa
Rahul Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being afraid of his upcoming speech and used a reference to Veer Savarkar to defend himself against calls for an apology regarding his comments made during a defamation trial in London. The BJP countered by accusing Congress of portraying Gandhi as a victim for political gain. Gandhi refused to apologize and stated that he will not as he is a Gandhi, not a Savarkar. He claimed that he was disqualified because the Prime Minister fears his speech.
BJP Accuses Rahul Gandhi of Lying in Media Address
In response to Rahul Gandhi’s criticism of the BJP and Gautam Adani in his address, Ravi Shankar Prasad, a senior BJP leader and MP from Patna, accused Gandhi of lying without evidence. Prasad also claimed that Gandhi was attempting to divert attention from the real issue and that he had been punished for a statement he made in 2019.
He added that while Gandhi was free to criticize, he could not abuse the Modi family, who belong to the OBC community. Prasad also stated that his allegations of being targeted and framed were unrelated to the Adani issue.