Questioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “silence” on occasions when controversial remarks were made by BJP ministers and partymen, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi tore into the government Tuesday, asking the Prime Minister whether he will “stand by and watch as his colleagues trample the voice of this country”, whether he will let the country “sing” or “condemn” it to “silence”.
Participating in the Lok Sabha discussion on intolerance in the country, Rahul said India has been successful because people have had the “space to talk” and have been allowed to be part of every conversation. He urged the government to “listen to the voice” of the people and “embrace” them.
Citing the example of Pakistan which “failed because they did not allow the voice of their people to be heard… because their leaders crushed voices that were inconvenient to them”, he asked the government “not to learn the wrong lesson” from Pakistan.
“Please be tolerant. Please listen to your people, embrace your own people,” he said. Rahul questions PM ‘silence,’ cites troll attack on Shourie son to make his point Vajpayee government, had recently criticised the Modi government, only to be targeted by “your Twitterati” and “trollers” who did not even spare his son who has cerebral palsy. He said Shourie pointed out that those who targeted him were being followed by the Prime Minister on social media.
“Mein aapse kehna chahata hoon ki aap log toh apne bhi nahin rahe… kyunki aapke ek aadmi Arun Shourieji hain, jo pehle Modiji ki prashansa karte thai. Unhone Modiji ke baray mein do-teen galat cheezein kahi, thoda criticise kiya aur apke jo Twitterati hain… apke trollers ne aapke hi aadmi par aakraman kar diya… and what did they say about Arun Shourie’s child? He has cerebral palsy but they did not even spare him,” he said.
He also attacked Minister of State V K Singh for his ‘dog remark’ on the death of two Dalit children in Haryana.
“I cannot find Shri V K Singh here. A General who likened Dalit children to dogs… who called Dalit children dogs. He has directly challenged the Constitution and the fundamental right to equality by equating Dalit children with dogs. Our honourable Prime Minister allows this man to continue as minister as if nothing has happened,” he said.
“The Prime Minister worships Dr Ambedkar but forgets that he spent his entire life protecting those two children. He helped write the Constitution so that those two children would not get burnt,” he said.
BJP MPs Sakshi Maharaj and Yogi Adityanath too came in Rahul’s line of fire. “You are all aware of the language they use, the way they talk about our countrymen, about people outside. Yet the Prime Minister, who quotes Dr Ambedkar, who quotes Gandhiji, remains silent,” he said to protests from the treasury benches.
Bringing up the lynching of a Muslim man in Dadri, he said the “man ultimately responsible for his protection, the Prime Minister of India, remains silent… (rationalists) Dabholkarji, Pansareji and Kalburgiji were shot dead in cold blood by fanatics. The Prime Minister has nothing to say about it.”
He then spoke on the protest by FTII students. The government which talks about Skill India, he said, tried to “crush” and “intimidate” students with “superb skills” just because they complained “that a mediocre man has been placed at the top in their institution”.
“All they wanted was for you to listen to them. They want to be heard. That is all. Yet the government that crushed their voice does not see the contradiction,” he said.
On writers and artists returning their awards as a “sign of protest”, he said: “The government does not even bother to speak to them. Shri Arun Jaitley simply says it is manufactured. Why would they manufacture it? Shri Arun Jaitley, this is not a dream like your Make in India project. This is reality.”
“Do you think people like Shri Narayana Murthy, Shri Raghuram Rajan, Shri P M Bhargava have nothing better to do than manufacture protests against you? They are saying it because they are disturbed like millions of people in this country. Please give them the respect of trying to understand what disturbs them. Do not brush them aside. Go and listen to them,” he said.