At no point Rahul called foreign countries to intervene said anything remotely anti-national Tharoor
New Delhi, Mar 17 (PTI) Amid furor over Rahul Gandhi’s comments in the UK, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Friday insisted that anytime the former leader called on foreign countries to interfere in India’s democracy, there was nothing. His views are anti-national.
Gandhi’s comments during his recent visit to the United Kingdom rocked Parliament, with no significant business transpiring in either house during the first five days of the budget session.
Speaking against Gandhi’s comments at the India Today conference here, Tharoor wondered if this was the most important issue facing Parliament and called for it to focus on the issues facing the country beyond “this major issue”.
Asked whether the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should apologize for Gandhi’s comments, the MP from Thiruvananthapuram said the former Congress leader had nothing to apologize for.
“I think that’s the amazing thing about them. I have to say that the BJP is smart in politics, one of the things they did was they blamed him (Gandhi) for something he didn’t say and then stuck it to his neck and apologized for not talking,” Tharoor said. said.
The former Union minister asserted that at no time did Gandhi call on foreign countries to interfere in India’s democracy.
“What he said was obvious. He said, ‘This is our problem, this is India’s problem, Indians will solve it, but you have to be vigilant because Indian democracy is a universal public good’. I don’t see anything there to apologize,” Tharoor said.
If the BJP wants Gandhi to apologize for talking about domestic politics abroad, the first person to apologize is Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Tharoor said that on several foreign trips, Modi had said that India was a country where nothing had happened for 65 years and that Indians were shy to show their faces abroad before he came to power.
“When he (Modi) apologizes for such statements, I think we can all apologize for saying the opposite abroad. I think this is a level of political discourse where we need to grow,” he said.
Asked about Gandhi’s comments in England, which allegedly sought foreign intervention, he said, “I remember him saying that you should be vigilant because it is a universal public interest….The comment he asked because to my mind no outside intervention appears from any evidence I have read or seen.”
Asked if Gandhi could have avoided those comments, Tharoor said, “I didn’t say anything. There is nothing to apologize for because there is nothing anti-national.”
“You can say why you are going there, why not talk about something else…. The truth is that in a democracy everyone has the right to express their opinion in what they consider to be appropriate forums, and I will not blame anything. Individual,” he said.
Tharoor said that the most important question is if this is really the most important issue facing Parliament, its proceedings should be suspended for a week.
“Can’t we focus on the problems of the nation beyond all this important matter?” he asked.
During his speech in England, Gandhi alleged that the structures of Indian democracy were under attack and that there was a “full-scale assault” on the country’s institutions.
The former Congress leader told members of the British Parliament in London that the microphones in the Lok Sabha are often “turned off” when an opposition member raises important issues.
Gandhi’s comments sparked a political backlash, with the BJP accusing him of denigrating India on foreign soil and seeking foreign intervention, and the Congress retaliating against the ruling party by pointing out that Modi had elevated internal politics abroad.