Under attack from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over his lecture at Cambridge University, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that he hadn’t maligned the country on foreign soil and that the BJP is distorting his statements.
In an interaction with journalists in London on Saturday, he said, “I have never defamed my country, I will never do it. The person who defames India when he goes abroad is the Prime Minister of India saying there was a lost decade, and nothing happened in the last 10 years. Is he not insulting the people who worked in India, who built India in those 10 years? And, he's doing it on foreign soil, “said Gandhi. During his speech at Cambridge University earlier this week, Gandhi said that Indian democracy is ‘under attack’ and he is being snooped.
Gandhi is in London as part of his week-long visit to the U.K. Responding to a query on the IT raid in the Delhi and Mumbai offices of BBC, the former Congress President said that it is an example of the “suppression of voice across the country. “The BBC has found out about it now, but it has been going on in India for the last nine years. The journalists who toe the line of the government are rewarded. If the BBC stops writing against the government, all the cases will be gone. This kind of full-scale attack on institutions never happened before in modern India,” he said.
The ‘so-called defenders of democracies including the US and Europe seem to be oblivious that a ‘huge chunk of democracy’ has come undone, said Gandhi.
Congress MP also expressed regret that there is no level playing field in Indian politics for the Opposition any more. “it's important to understand that the Opposition in India is no longer fighting a political party. We're fighting the institutional structure of India now; the BJP and RSS which have captured almost all institutions. So, the idea of a level playing field doesn’t exist because the institutions aren’t neutral anymore” he said. “We are fighting the institutions and the RSS and the BJP. Every Opposition leader and the public also understand this,” he added.
Speaking about opposition unity, Gandhi said that conversations are taking place among parties and he expressed hope that the efforts will fructify.
“There is a lot of coordination going on between opposition parties. The basic idea is that the RSS and the BJP need to be fought and defeated. There are practical issues that require discussion. In some states, it’s very simple and in others, it's complicated. But the opposition is very much capable of having these discussions,” he stressed.
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On a question on the differences of opinion between Congress and TMC, Gandhi said that Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge will take a call on the alliances with regional parties. “It’s not my job to tackle it anymore. Party chief will decide on the shape of alliances and I will definitely share my views with him,” he said.
Reiterating his criticism of the BJP government’s China policy, he said that the country needs to be vigilant about Chinese actions at the border.
“2000 sq kms of our territory is in the hands of the PLA. The PM himself stated that nobody entered our border and not an inch was taken. This destroyed our negotiation position. I think our EAM doesn’t understand the actual threat from China,” said Gandhi.