Furore in Lok Sabha after Rahul Gandhi accuses NDA of murdering Bharat Mata

You are not the protectors, but murderers of Bharat Mata, Rahul Gandhi said to the enraged ruling benches in Lok Sabha, accusing them of lighting communal fires across the country
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi speaks on the Motion of No-Confidence in the Lok Sabha during the Monsoon session of Parliament. (Photo | PTI)
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi speaks on the Motion of No-Confidence in the Lok Sabha during the Monsoon session of Parliament. (Photo | PTI)

The second day of discussions on the no-confidence motion brought by the opposition kicked up a lot of dust after Rahul Gandhi accused the ruling front of murdering Bharat Mata and scheme to set the entire country ablaze in communal strife.

"You killed Bharat Mata in Manipur.. and every single day that you don't put an end to the violence, you continue to kill my mother," he said.

The remarks shocked the members of the ruling benches, who typically fashion themselves as the defenders of Bharat Mata (Mother India).

Many of the ruling MPs erupted from their seats, and even Om Birla, the Lok Sabha speaker, was moved to urge Rahul Gandhi to speak with restraint, to which Gandhi replied: "You are asking me to observe restraint! They have murdered my mother in Manipur.."

BJP leader Smriti Irani attacked the Congress Party for "sitting silent" when there was talk of murdering Bharat Mata.

"In this house today, there was talk of the murder of Bharat Mata, and it is shameful that you sat there and applauded," he said.


Rahul Gandhi also made a second point aimed at the ruling front: He accused them of plotting to set fire across the country by fanning communal sentiments, dragging in the incidents of Nuh and other places.

"You poured kerosene in Manipur and struck a match! This is what you are trying to do in Haryana, you want to set fire to the entire country."

He accused the government of silently acquiescing to the violence in Manipur.

"The Indian Army can put an end to the violence in the state in just one day. But you don't want that, because you want to kill [the spirit of] this country in Manipur."

Trying to reply to the BJP in their own language, Gandhi compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Ravan, the ruler of Lanka in the Hindu epic of Ramayana.

"It was not Hanuman who set fire to Lanka, but Ravan's pride," he said.

Gandhi recounted his interactions with people who had fled the Manipur violence to various relief camps, pointing out that Modi is yet to visit the troubled state.

"I met a woman in a camp. I asked her: What happened to you? She froze, shuddered and fainted, because my question had triggered the memories of what she had been put through [during the ethnic violence]" he recounted.

Meanwhile, his speech was preceded by media reports that said that he had 'flip-flopped' on whether to participate in the no-confidence motion or not.

Congress leaders had, in the morning, told the media that Gandhi would participate. However, by mid-day, several TV channels started reporting -- with flashing headlines such as 'Flip flob by Rahul Gandhi' -- that Gandhi has decided not to speak in Parliament today.

However, Gandhi rose to deliver his speech at around 12 PM, ending such speculation.

The Congress leader started off his speech on a low-key note, assuring the ruling benches that he "will not attack them much" as only "words from the speaker's heart can really reach the listener's heart".

Instead of attacking the government or even broaching the subject of Manipur violence, Gandhi spoke about his experience during the recently concluded cross-country march called Bharat Jodo Yatra, and how he started out on the march with all the wrong ideas.

"When I started on the yatra, I did not know why I was doing it. People asked me - why are you going on this yatra, and I didn't really know what to tell them. But I realized the purpose only a few days into the yatra," he said.

He said he started the yatra with hubris, with the attitude that it was going to be easy to walk a few tens of kilometers a day as he was used to running several kilometers every day.

"One of the good things about India is that it puts you in your place, removes all such pride and arrogance from your mind," he said.

"After two days, my knee started paining. It would pain in the morning, when I would have to start on the journey.. but I don't know from where, but some invisible force would come to my aid whenever I needed to overcome [the pain]" he said.

"One day, one girl came to me with a chit, in which it was written, 'Rahul, I'm walking with you'. She had seen my injury and gave me her strength."

He pointed out that he had started off the journey with a view to taking his message to the masses. "In the initial days, I would reach the venues, and tell everyone -- youngsters, farmers, students -- what I wanted them to do. Do this, do that.

"But I soon realized that there were too many people, and I couldn't keep on doing it. I became silent. I started listening to them. 

"One day, a farmer came, and gave me a small bundle of cotton, and said: This is all that is left of my crop...I felt the sadness of his heart in my heart, the shame in his eyes in my eyes. His hunger was passed on to me. From that moment on, the yatra was transformed. After that, I could never hear the crowds. I could only hear the voice of the person standing in front of me, talking to me."

The no-confidence motion was introduced in the Lok Sabha by Gaurav Gogoi on Tuesday, with the claim that it was intended to break Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'vow of silence' over the violence in Manipur.

Related Stories

No stories found.

The New Indian Express