NEW DELHI: Even as the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) remained on the boil over JNUSU president’s arrest on sedition charges, BJP chief Amit Shah and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Monday traded charges against each other for promoting ‘divisive’ politics. If Shah questioned Gandhi’s intentions and asked if he wanted to divide India, Rahul alleged Shah and his party were “trying to divide” the people to establish a political writ.
Addressing rallies in Assam, a charged up Rahul cited a fiery speech the JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar gave and said, “he was speaking for the poor, weak, adivasis and deprived… and the BJP government got him arrested as an anti-national.”
In an attempt to return Shah’s fire, Rahul accused his party and the Sangh of trying to impose their ideology on the country ignoring the diverse identity and history of states and “muzzling youth who disagree as anti-nationals.” Questioning if all who disagree can be branded anti-nationals, Rahul harangued, “Deshbhakti ke license ki dukan khol rakha hain?”
Earlier, addressing the media, Shah accused the opposition and particularly Rahul of supporting those who were engaged in “anti-national activities in JNU and thereby, proving that he does not have national interest in mind.” He alleged that the Congress leader had joined hands with separatist forces and wanted another division of India. Demanding an apology from Rahul, Shah said his support of divisive forces in the name of Left progressive ideology was not acceptable. Separately in a blog post, Shah posed eight questions to the Congress and asked Rahul to define patriotism. Taking a strong position on the JNU incident, he said raising slogans against the country and in favour of terrorists like Afzal Guru amounted to treason. “The BJP will not allow such an incident to take place in any part of the country,” he asserted. “If Rahul Gandhi wants to support it in the name of freedom of expression, then I’ll ask the Congress if there can be a bigger evidence of treason than the slogans which were shouted there?” Shah asked.
Meanwhile, the Left parties, particularly the CPI as Kanhaiya Kumar belonged to the AISF, asked Home Minister Rajnath Singh to produce evidence to substantiate his allegation that the protesting JNU students had the backing of Pakistani terror-mentor Hafiz Sayeed.
CPI national secretary D Raja said: “If anyone has done wrong, the government will have to take action. Before that it has to produce acceptable evidence to back the allegations.”
CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury, who received threat calls over the JNU incident, alleged that the Left student unions and liberal progressive student bodies were being systematically attacked and muzzled by the BJP and other Sangh outfits.