Updated: June 23, 2022 7:13:52 am
Terming his questioning by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) as a “small affair”, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi urged his party leaders and workers to protest against the Agnipath scheme instead, which, he said, would “weaken the Armed Forces”. Recalling the repeal of the farm laws, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi would have to “withdraw” the recruitment scheme also.
Addressing party leaders and workers, who had gathered at the AICC headquarters here to express solidarity with him over his questioning by the ED, Rahul said: “They are weakening our Army, for which the country will suffer, and they call themselves nationalists. Leave the ED issue, it is a small affair. But our youth, who train so hard to get into the forces, symbolise patriotism… It is our responsibility to secure the future of our youth.”
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) June 22, 2022
“Regarding the farmers, I had said that Modiji will have to take back the Bills… Were the Bills not taken back? Now the Congress party is saying that Narendra Modiji will have to withdraw the new Agnipath scheme. Every Indian youth will be found standing with us because they know true patriotism lies in strengthening the Army, not weakening it,” he said.
“They have broken the back of the smallscale industries, MSMEs. Now, they have also blocked the road that offered our youth a job in the Army. There will be no resettlement once these young people retire after four years. On the other hand, the Chinese Army is sitting on Indian soil. Over 1,000 square metres of land have been snatched from us. Even the Indian government has accepted it. At a time when the forces should be strengthened, they are weakening it. It will have implications when there is a war,” he said.
Rahul has been questioned by the ED for 50 hours over five days in a money laundering case related to the National Herald newspaper. While the Congress has accused the ED of harassing him by dragging his questioning for days, the probe agency has said that he has not been able to provide answers to key questions related to the case.
Rahul said ED officials asked him about the “secret” behind his patience and energy, despite long hours of questioning in a room measuring “about 12 feet by 12 feet”. “They asked me not to leave the chair, keep sitting for hours…. (said) don’t you get tired, we have got tired. They asked me the secret behind my energy,” he said, adding that he attributed it to Vipassana meditation.
“But the real truth is that I was not alone in that room. Crores of Congress workers and leaders were with me. I also had those who fight to safeguard our democracy. They may not have received the special invite of the ED, but they were also with me,” he said.
In a lighter vein, Rahul said nobody knows the virtue of patience more than Congress leaders and workers, pointing at senior leaders Sachin Pilot and Siddaramaiah on the dais, where Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Karnataka Congress chief D K Shivakumar were also seated.
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“I have been working with the Congress since 2004… I will not be patient, then what? Look at Sachin PiIot sitting. I am sitting, Siddaramaiahji is sitting. Our party teaches us patience, it does not let us get tired. On the other side of the fence, there is no need for patience. You just need to not speak the truth, keep your hands folded, prostrate and your work gets done,” he said.
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