'Rahul Gandhi's arrogance led to this situation': Union Minister … – The Week

He says the government has nothing to hide on the Adani issue
THE LOK SABHA polls may be a year away, but the stage is set for an aggressive contest after Rahul Gandhi’s conviction and subsequent disqualification as an MP. This may have brought the opposition on the same platform, but the government does not seem perturbed. It has launched a counterattack, and leading it is Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur.
Q/ How do you look at Rahul Gandhi’s conviction?
A/ This is the not first time that Rahul Gandhi has blundered. In 2018, he had given a written apology in the Supreme Court (for making the chowkidar chor hai jibe). The Supreme Court mentioned at that time that he be alert and not repeat such a mistake.
There are seven [defamation] cases where he is on bail―in Patna, Ahmedabad, [the] Gauri Lankesh case, [the one] blaming [the] RSS for killing Mahatma Gandhi. He does it purposefully, mudslinging without any substance. In the present case, he had the opportunity to apologise at the Surat court and be done with it. His arrogance has led to this situation.
Q/ Was there a hurry to disqualify him?
A/ As per article 102 (1)(e) of the Constitution, read with section 8 of The Representation of the People Act, if a member of Parliament or MLA stands convicted with two years imprisonment, he stands disqualified that very moment…. He should have opposed it in a higher court [and applied] for a stay on conviction. He again showed arrogance. The first time it was disrespect to the OBC community; second time it was for not apologising in the court; third time for not approaching the higher court; and fourth, even after being disqualified you still consider yourself and your family higher than the country, Constitution and Parliament.
If one looks at his Parliament record, he has below average attendance. From 2004 till 2023, he has participated in only 21 debates. From 2009 to 2014, he has not raised even a single question about his constituency.
When you go abroad, you term Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh as managed by occupational forces. Is Indian Army an occupational force? And, ask for help from foreign powers to intervene. This raises a serious question on his capability and calibre. He is a loose cannon.
Q/ You had hinted at internal sabotage in his case?
A/ He is still not able to understand who is playing games with him. The Congress has a battery of senior lawyers in the Rajya Sabha. None of them has come forward to file an appeal in his case. Do they think they can be qualified by agitating on the roads?
Q/ Rahul Gandhi says the government action is due to his raising the Adani issue.
A/ We should not mix the two issues, which the Congress is trying to do. Rahul Gandhi was disqualified as he has abused the OBC community. He, at times, forgets that by targeting one man he is targeting the entire community. If he didn’t mean to insult the OBC community, he could have apologised. It is not that he has not apologised earlier. They are trying to deviate from the issue. The Congress has used offensive words against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but they have not been able to dent his image. In order to sully Modi’s image, he has humiliated the entire OBC community.
As for the Adani case, we have nothing to hide. We have said it in Parliament. The State Bank of India made a statement, so did the Life Insurance Corporation, Reserve Bank and Securities and Exchange Board of India. Even the finance minister spoke about it. And it was discussed in the last Parliament session, where everything came on record. He also spoke but he could not authenticate what he said. He was told to authenticate and put it on paper, but he ran away from Parliament. You can lie on the road, but not in Parliament.
Q/ Will this became a rallying point for opposition unity?
A/ You may have seen the unity. The Shiv Sena did not join. Earlier, even the Trinamool Congress had kept distance. Everyone knows that the action was taken by the court. From 2013 to 2022, 12 MPs and MLAs have lost their membership after being convicted. He was not singled out. There was no hurry. Rules mandate that a member be disqualified the same day post conviction.
Q/ The Parliament session seems to be headed towards a washout. Is it not the government’s responsibility to run the house?
A/ The budget has been passed; the bills will also be passed, though discussion is not taking place. We believe in discussion and debate. And we believe in democracy and its process. We fought for that during Emergency, which was brought by Rahul Gandhi’s grandmother.
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