Rahul Gandhi accuses BJP of dividing people on communal lines

It is clearly written in Hinduism that one should stand with the truth and not back down from the truth or be scared of it, says Congress leader

Rahul Gandhi during Parliament session in New Delhi on 1 July (photo: PTI)
Rahul Gandhi during Parliament session in New Delhi on 1 July (photo: PTI)


Leader of Opposition Rahul Gandhi launched a no-holds-barred attack on the BJP in the Lok Sabha on Monday, 1 July, accusing the leaders of the ruling party of dividing people on communal lines.

"It is not just one religion that talks about courage. In fact, all our religions talk about courage," Rahul Gandhi said in his debut speech as the leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha that was watched by his mother Sonia Gandhi and sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra from the visitors' gallery.

The Congress leader was speaking during the debate on the Motion of Thanks on the president's address to a joint sitting of Parliament.

Gandhi quoted Prophet Muhammad to highlight that the Quran talks about fearlessness.

Holding up pictures of Lord Shiva, Guru Nanak, and Jesus Christ, he referred to Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Christianity, Buddhism and Jainism to underline the importance of fearlessness. He also cited the attributes of Lord Shiva and teachings of Guru Nanak, Jesus Christ, Buddha, and Mahavir to state that all religions and great people of the country have said "daro mat, darao mat (do not be scared, do not scare others)".

"Shivji says daro mat, darao mat ... talks about ahimsa..."

As the treasury bench members stood up in protest, Rahul Gandhi slammed the BJP, saying, "It is clearly written in Hinduism that one should stand with the truth and not back down from the truth or be scared of it," he said.

Rahul Gandhi accused the BJP of launching "systematic attacks" on the Constitution and the fundamental concept of India, noting that millions of people have resisted the ideas proposed by the ruling party.

"I was attacked on the orders of Prime Minister Modi and the government. There were 20-plus cases (against me), a two-year jail sentence, (my) house was taken away, (I was subjected to) 55 hours of interrogation by the ED," he said.

Gandhi also criticised the Agnipath scheme for short-term military recruitment and said that the government does not even give them the status of a "shaheed" (martyr) and that no compensation is extended to their families in they are killed in action.

The Congress leader also hit out at the Centre over the situation in Manipur, alleging that it has pushed the northeastern state into a civil war.

He slammed the government over farmers' issues, saying it did not want to give a legal guarantee on the minimum support price (MSP) for crops.

Agriculture minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan objected to Gandhi's remarks and accused him of "misleading" the House. Union ministers Kiren Rijiju and Bhupender Yadav also intervened at different points of Rahul Gandhi's speech.

Referring to a row involving medical entrance exam NEET, Rahul Gandhi said students do not believe in the exam because they feel that it is for the rich people and there is no place in it for meritorious students.

Talking about his new role as the leader of opposition, Rahul Gandhi said his job is to represent all parties equally with love and affection.

"So when Hemant Soren or (Arvind) Kejriwal goes to jail, I should be concerned. When you unleash enforcement agencies on them, we should defend them. When you are a constitutional person, your personal aspirations should take a back seat," he said.

The Congress leader also said minorities are patriots and make the country proud in every sphere, as he accused the BJP of spreading violence and hatred against Muslims, Sikhs and Christians.

In his concluding remarks, Gandhi asked the ruling party not to spread fear or hatred.

"Do not think of the opposition as your enemies... We are ready to discuss anything you want to. Let us work together to take the country forward," he said.

Later, in a post in Hindi on X, Gandhi said, "Narendra Modi has been running the 'reign of fear' for 10 years! By taking control of all the agencies, institutions and the media, the BJP has only worked to spread fear in every section of the society."

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