2 Ministers, MP Lead Fight Back On Rahul Gandhi’s Alleged Insult Of Hindus

The Bharatiya Janata Party – hit by a blistering broadside Monday afternoon from Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, in his first speech as Leader of the Opposition – deployed union ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and Kiren Rijiju, and Rajya Sabha MP Sudhanshu Trivedi to make a point-by-point rebuttal.

The trio accused Mr Gandhi of belittling his post and of making an “extremely irresponsible speech” that inflicted a “grave insult” on Hindus by linking them to violence and spreading falsehoods.

Ashwini Vaishnaw began a tag team-style counterattack this evening, claiming the nation had been left “distraught” by Rahul Gandhi’s statement, and declared that Mr Gandhi had used the word ‘violent’ for Hindus. “It is highly condemnable… the entire nation is distraught,” the Railways Minister said.

“Calling Hindus ‘violent’ doesn’t suit him… LoP is a respectable position held (in the past) by Atal Bihar Vajpayee ji and Sushma Swaraj ji” the minister said, and referring to Mr Gandhi’s claim about the Agniveer military recruitment scheme – firmly rebutted in Parliament by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh – added, “Rahul Gandhi is holding a constitutional post… and is spreading lies.”

“Most concerning issue is Rahul Gandhi labelling Hindus ‘violent’. This is an old habit of the Congress. In 2010, (ex-Home Minister P Chidambaram called Hindus ‘terrorists’. In 2013 Sushilkumar Shinde said the same. In 2021, Rahul Gandhi said ‘Hindutvavadis‘ should be expelled,” Mr Vaishnaw said.

“Rahul Gandhi (also) insulted the Constitutional position of Speaker. This is not the first time… remember when he tore up his own government’s ordinance,” he added.

Rahul Gandhi’s “Hindus” Parliament Speech

The reference was to Mr Gandhi saying “… Hindus can never spread hatred… but BJP spreads fear 24×7”. That prompted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make a rare intervention to an opposition leader’s speech. “Calling entire Hindu society violent is a serious issue…” Mr Vaishnaw said.

READ | BJP Alleges Rahul Insulted Hindus, He Responds With RSS Jab

To this Mr Gandhi shot back, “Modi ji, BJP, and RSS is not the entire Hindu community.”

The BJP’s evening pushback was picked up and continued by Kiren Rijiju, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, who said Rahul Gandhi “did not even thank the President” in a speech meant to respond to Droupadi Murmu’s address to Parliament – to start the 18th Lok Sabha’s first session – last week.

Mr Rijiju also demanded Rahul Gandhi substantiate his charges – including claims about lack of compensation for residents of Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya affected by the construction of the Ram Temple.

He also declared the opposition leader had failed to “suggest any solution” to the government. “Rahul Gandhi did not suggest any solution in his entire speech… which is the job of a positive opposition.”

“I condemn Rahul Gandhi ji for terming Hindus as (a) violent, hateful and untruthful community. He can’t insult Hindus without reason,” the Parliamentary Affairs Minister continued.

Sudhanshu Trivedi then took up the baton and accused the Congress of insulting Hindus.

The three weren’t the only BJP leaders to hit out at Rahul Gandhi.

“Rahul Insulted Crores Of Hindus”: BJP Leaders

BJP chief JP Nadda, involved in his own running battle in the Rajya Sabha (with his Congress counterpart Mallikarjun Kharge) took aim at Mr Gandhi with a series of posts on X, in which he accused the Congress leader of having “blatantly lied”.

“First day, worst show! Lies + Hindu hatred = Rahul Gandhi ji in Parliament. Third-time fail LoP has a knack for agitated, flawed logic. His speech today has shown that neither has he understood the mandate of 2024 (his third successive loss) nor does he have any humility,” he said.

READ | In Rajya Sabha, Kharge’s “Small Request” vs Nadda’s Fierce Reply

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman called Mr Gandhi a hypocrite and said his “mohabbat ki dukaan” claim – he attacked the BJP for spreading communal violence – had now been exposed. Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Coal Minister G Kishan Reddy also claimed Mr Gandhi’s remarks an “insult”.

With input from agencies

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