You are not defending the flag when you frighten your own people into silence: Rahul Gandhi in Lok Sabha

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi targeted the government on a range of issues — from JNU to Rohith Vemula, black money to foreign policy. Excerpts from his speech in Lok Sabha:

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: March 3, 2016 1:09 pm
rahul gandhi, lok sabha, rahul gandhi lok sabha, fair & lovely, parliament, jnu, sedition, inflation, black money Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi at Parliament house in new delhi on wednesday.(Express photo)

On black money

The Finance Minister announced a fair and lovely scheme, saying it was Modiji’s scheme which would convert black money into white. In 2014, Modi had said I will finish black money… I will jail anybody who has black money. But under the fair and lovely scheme, nobody will go to jail, nobody will be arrested, nobody will be asked anything. Go to Arun Jaitleyji, pay tax and turn black money into white.

On economy

Modiji had promised to bring down prices. Dal was Rs 70. And he had promised to bring it down. Today, it is Rs 200. Earlier, crude oil was 130 dollars per barrel. Today it is 35 dollars per barrel. Not even a single rupee is being passed on to the common man.

Watch: Rahul Gandhi attacks Modi in Lok Sabha

On jobs

Modiji had promised 2 crore jobs every year. The Make in India logo babbar sher is visible everywhere. But nobody knows how many jobs have been given. The PM has been criticising MGNREGA, saying he was continuing with the scheme to expose the UPA’s mistake. Arun Jaitley came to me and told me there is no better scheme than MRNREGA. I said, go and tell your boss. Then he did not have anything say. He was silent. I know there is fear. Narendra Modiji is a very powerful person. I know you people are also afraid. But you should all speak up before him.

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On Rohith Vemula

Rohith asked was he being harassed because he was a Dalit? Shouldn’t a poor Dalit like me have a future in Hindustan? What does the powerful Government of India do? You crush him and he commits suicide. Your ministers raise questions on whether he was a Dalit.


Kanhaiya delivered a 20-minute speech. I have heard it. He did not utter a word against India. You arrested him. If anybody has said anything unlawful, you arrest him, take action. But you have let them go scot-free while you arrest Kanhaiya. Sixty per cent of the students in JNU are Dalits and from backward, minority and OBC communities. Why are you after JNU and Rohith…. neither will you be able to crush JNU nor the poor of this country. Which religion talks of beating teachers and students and media in court? Mr Prime Minister, why haven’t you uttered a single word?

On Tricolour

Respecting the flag means respecting the opinion of every Indian. When I went to JNU, your ABVP workers waved black flags in my face. They taunted me, they abused me. I did not get angry. In fact, I felt proud that I still live in a country, in India where it is possible to be confronted by people who held a different opinion than my own. I don’t agree with their views; I protected our Indian flag when I led people, when they waved those black flags at my face… You cannot defend the Indian flag by destroying the relationships between our people. You are not defending the flag when you frighten your own people into silence.


Whose opinion does the Prime Minister listen to? Does he respect your opinion? Does he respect the opinion of his ministers? You were in silence. I understand. I understand the feeling within you and I want to bring that out; I want you to make him listen. But anyway, that will happen slowly. You have been taught by your teachers in the RSS that there is only one truth in the universe — your own — that nobody else’s opinion matters in the entire universe. This is all you have shown us in the last two years. The Prime Minister cannot run the country on only his opinion. The country is not the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is not the country.

On Mumbai terror attack

Pakistan directly attacked this country in Mumbai on 26/11… The operation to stop the terrorists was on. Our soldiers and citizens were dying. The Government of India begged the Chief Minister of Gujarat not to go to Mumbai. The then Chief Minister of Gujarat decided to go to Mumbai. Did he care? No; he went right ahead to Mumbai, to the Oberoi Hotel itself and disturbed the entire operation. He grabbed his headlines while our people died.

On Pakistan

Mumbai was a horrible, terrible blow to this country… The UPA government worked tirelessly to trap Pakistan. We isolated them internationally. We spent thousands of hours of diplomacy to turn them into a pariah nation. We destroyed their reputation internationally and put them into a little diplomatic cage… What does the Prime Minister do? He decides to have a cup of tea with Nawaz Sharif… Without any thought, without any vision, he decides to take a detour to Pakistan and have a chai pe charcha. The Prime Minister, single-handedly, destroyed six years of our work. In one move, he personally let Pakistan out of the little cage into which we had put them. He gifted them a status equal to our own.


Read Full Text of his speech

On PM’s style of functioning

There have been others in history who could only see their own perspective, people who saluted the cloth but destroyed the relationship and conversation between their people. Milosevic, the President of Yugoslavia, used to salute the flag every morning and talk of patriotism all day long. He broke the relationship between Serbs and Croats and destroyed his country. Nearer to us, Yahya Khan claimed to defend the Pakistani flag. As a soldier, he used to salute their flag every morning… and refused to listen to his countrymen. He destroyed the relationship between Punjabi and Bengali and he tore his country into two. The Prime Minister still has the option to listen to what the country is trying to tell him. The country is gently trying to give him a message. The Prime Minister just has to listen to the message, listen to those around you, listen to Rajnath Singhji, listen to Advaniji, listen to Sushma Swarajji, listen to your MPs, listen to us across the aisle here — we are not your enemies, we do not hate you — listen to the voice of the Indian people, listen to the farmers and workers who have so much wisdom and, especially, listen to the voice of the next generation. They are the future of this country. Allow them the dignity of their voice.