Sad and tragic to watch PM Modi in Lok Sabha, says Rahul Gandhi
In an exchange with the media on 11 August, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi said Prime Ministers must learn to set aside politics and be the voice of the country
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech in the Lok Sabha on Thursday was all about himself, his dreams and his ambitions, said Rahul Gandhi at a press conference in New Delhi on Friday.
It was all about him, 2024, Congress, the Opposition, he said, adding, “The issue was Manipur, not the Congress, the Opposition or Rahul Gandhi”. It was truly tragic watching the PM speak, joke and laugh in Parliament amidst chanting of slogans and his name, he also observed.
"The Prime Minister does not understand that he is not just a politician, that he is my Prime Minister, our Prime Minister… as Prime Minister, he should rise above politics and not behave as a party leader," he said.
In a tacit nod to critics of his comment in Parliament on Wednesday that the government had "killed Bharat Mata" in Manipur, the Congress leader explained why he was "compelled" to say so.
Recalling his visit to Manipur, he said that when he visited the Meitei camps, he was told to ensure that no Kuki accompanied him, even as part of his security detail. They would be killed, he was told. Similarly, when he visited Kuki relief camps, he was advised to leave behind any Meitei security guards, who could be shot dead. "Manipur as a state no longer exists. They have divided the state and the people; and that is why I say that they have killed Bharat Mata," Rahul added.
“In my 19 years in politics, I have visited virtually every state in the country every time there was a crisis. But I have never seen or heard of this kind of division and hatred,” he explained, adding that even though Bharat Mata "is an idea", he has been informed that the phrase has been expunged from his speech in the proceedings of the Lok Sabha. "One cannot even take the name of Bharat Mata in Parliament," he observed.
Claiming that he knows why Prime Minister Narendra Modi cannot travel to Manipur, but saying he couldn't share details with the media, he added that the Prime Minister could at least speak.
"If the Prime Minister wanted to ridicule me, Congress, or the Opposition, he could have done it in public rallies and outside Parliament. The Prime Minister could have laughed, mocked, made ridiculous statements about names some other time," he said. "But he could have addressed Manipur with more seriousness."
Reminded that the Prime Minister in his speech had claimed that union home minister Amit Shah had said all that had to be said about Manipur, he shot back, “The home minister said that there was no need to remove the chief minister because he cooperated with all the decisions taken by the union government; so should we assume that the home minister wanted armouries in Imphal to be looted, arms to be carried by civilians, and the violence to continue for three months?”
Asked about Sansad TV focusing on the Speaker’s face during much of the time he spoke during the debate on the no-confidence motion, Rahul shrugged before saying, "Well, it is possible that the Prime Minister does not want to see my face on TV. There is a contradiction, though, because he still insists on commenting on my videos."