Congress pledges to protect India’s diversity from BJP and RSS threats: Rahul


PTI, Apr 16, 2024, 9:10 AM IST

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday accused the BJP and the RSS of attempting to destroy the diversity of the country and claimed that now people are afraid to practice their religion or follow their traditions.

Addressing election programmes in Wayanad and Kozhikode districts of Kerala, he said that if the Congress is voted to power, citizenship will not be decided based on caste, religion, or language but on the idea of India.

Hitting out at Narendra Modi over the electoral bonds issue, he claimed that though the prime minister said it was designed to bring transparency in political funding, the BJP government did everything possible to prevent the names of donors and donation dates from being revealed.

The Supreme Court has scrapped the 2018 electoral bond scheme while holding that it was ”violative” of the constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression and the right to information.

”It (electoral bond) is the biggest extortion racket on the planet. It is a way to steal from the people of India, and it was organised and conceptualised by the prime minister himself,” alleged the former Congress chief who is seeking reelection from Wayanad.

Accusing the BJP and the RSS of attempting to destroy the diversity of the country, he said the Congress party would not let them change the Constitution of India. It is the ”sacred duty” of the Congress to protect every single Indian, regardless of their community, religion, and state, he said.

Gandhi said PM Modi has been talking about ”one nation, one leader, one language” which is an insult to the people of the country. He said ”it was a pity” that the prime minister does not understand India’s nature.

”He does not understand that our multiple languages, traditions, and religions are our biggest strengths… It is difficult for him to see this because his only quest is to remain in power,” Gandhi alleged.

Describing India as a bouquet of flowers, he alleged that Modi did not understand the country and its DNA. ”You cannot look at a bouquet and say there should be only one colour. Each flower gives a unique character to the bouquet.” ”Each flower has a different smell and colour. In the same way, our people have different religions, languages, states, and traditions. That is the strength of the nation,” he said and stressed that it was important that every single flower in the bouquet be protected.

”It is our commitment to you that not a single person, regardless of his community, religion, language or the place where he lives, is going to be harmed by the RSS and the BJP. We are not going to allow India to become a place where people are scared to practice their religion, speak their language, and follow their tradition,” Gandhi said.

At an election rally of the United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kozhikode, he said the Constitution protects the rights of every single Indian, regardless of their religion, the state they belong to, the language they speak or the culture they are part of.

”We will never decide citizenship based on caste, religion, or language. We will decide citizenship based on the idea of India, nothing less,” Gandhi asserted.

Earlier in the day, Gandhi accused the BJP of attempting to ”capture” all constitutional institutions of the country. ”Whether it is the judiciary, Election Commission, CBI, ED, Income Tax Department or the high bureaucracy, the RSS is infiltrating these systems by putting their men,” he charged.

On the other hand, the INDIA bloc believes that these institutions belong to India and not to any one organisation, the Congress leader said, adding, ”These institutions are not the personal property of the prime minister. They are the property of every single Indian.” In his hard-hitting speech in Kozhikode, Gandhi did not even spare Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Pointing out that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and ex-Jaharkhand CM Hemant Soren are in jail, he asked why was the BJP not targeting Vijayan.

”My question is why is the BJP not attacking the chief minister of Kerala? Why are they not taking away his house, and his chief ministership, lodging court cases against him, or getting him interrogated by the ED? After all, two CMs are in jail today,” the Congress leader asked.

He sought to know why Vijayan had been attacking him all the time. ”I am happy for him to attack me, but he should also spend a little bit more time attacking the BJP, RSS and Modi,” Gandhi added.

The Congress leader arrived in Kerala on Monday to launch the second phase of his election campaign. He filed his nomination from Wayanad earlier this month after holding a massive roadshow.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Gandhi won from Wayanad by a record margin of 4,31,770 votes.

Polling in Kerala’s 20 Lok Sabha seats will be held on April 26.

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