Is the Ministry of Home Affairs merely incompetent or devious as well? The question assumed importance on Tuesday after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh downplayed the letter issued by MHA on April 29 to Congress President Rahul Gandhi to clarify on his citizenship.
The Home Minister told the media that whenever a complaint is received from an honourable Member of Parliament, in this case Dr Subramanian Swamy of the BJP, the ministry seeks a clarification in the routine course. What he failed to clarify is whether his ministry had written a similar letter in 2015 when Dr Swamy first claimed in a letter to MHA that Rahul Gandhi was a British citizen. Not is there any information whether the MHA had received any reply then or if the Ministry had conducted any inquiry of its own.
In any case the ‘routine’ letter found its way to the news agency ANI, known to be the Government and the PM’s favourite news agency which had also released the Prime Minister’s ‘non-political interview’ with actor Akshay Kumar.
People were quick to point out that Dr Swamy had claimed in 2013 that the Congress President was an Italian Citizen before modifying the claim to maintain that he had a British Passport. The BJP MP had written to the Prime Minister also in 2015 demanding an inquiry into Rahul Gandhi’s citizenship. He had also knocked on the Supreme Court, which dismissed the petition in November, 2015.
Following the controversy engineered by the MHA, Rachit Seth of the Congress tweeted the certificate of incorporation of a British firm in which Rahul Gandhi was a Director, and which clearly mentioned that he was an Indian citizen.
The silly controversy, in view of the fact that Rahul Gandhi is an Indian citizen by birth, was once again resurrected by Dr Swamy earlier this month when an independent candidate in Amethi filed an objection to the nomination filed by the Congress President and cited his alleged British citizenship as one of the grounds to disqualify him. The Returning Officer, however, found the papers to be in order and dismissed the objections.
The controversy is silly because the Congress President has contested and won three successive elections to the Lok Sabha. Had he not been an Indian citizenship, the BJP Government at least would have acted against him during the last five years.
The Congress President holds an Indian Passport and has not surrendered it unlike millions of Indians who have obtained citizenship of other countries.
And in today’s day and age, it is child’s play for the Government of India to seek and get confirmation from the United Kingdom and any other country on citizenship details of any Indian, leave alone the Congress President.
That is why the contrived controversy signals a degree of desperation in the BJP during the election. It clearly wants to divert attention from the failures of the Modi Government and reverses it is suffering on the electoral front.
Twitterati were quick to comment on the timing of the ‘controversy’ and questioned the complicity of the MHA.
The MHA has made itself a laughing stock by first writing the letter to Rahul Gandhi on what it knows is a frivolous complaint and then by releasing it, little realising that it would invite ridicule not just in India but also internationally.