In a scathing attack on Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday questioned their silence on the Hoshiarpur rape case and said that “it doesn’t shake the conscience of the brother and sister pair who rushed to every other chosen site, which they think can help them politically”.
Addressing a press conference at the BJP headquarters, Sitharaman said, “I have come to speak on something which disturbs all our minds — the rape in Hoshiarpur and the complete silence of the Congress in this matter.”
“A six-year-old child of a migrant labourer from Bihar — a Dalit — is raped, is killed, body half burnt; and it doesn’t shake the conscience of the brother and sister pair who rushed to every other chosen site, which they think can help them politically,” Sitharaman said, in reference to Rahul and Priyanka’s visit to Hathras in Uttar Pradesh, where a 19-year old Dalit woman was allegedly raped and murdered by upper caste men.
She said, “The enthusiasm with which almost as though they were going for a picnic, the brother and sister pair which ran towards an unfortunate site where something had happened… Of course, you’re well within your right to go and raise the issue, and demand justice for the family. But why not in Hoshiarpur? Why not if it (the crime takes place) is Rajasthan?
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“The selective outrage that the Congress party wants to show when it is elsewhere but not in their respective governed states, is completely exposed.”
Stating that rape cases should not be politicised, she slammed the former Congress chief: “The pretentious Congress is nowhere. Not a word from tweet-friendly leader Shri Rahul Gandhi. No tweet on this, no outrage on this, and no picnic on this…. A woman heads their party. Does this kind of selective outrage suit the stature of their party?”
Questioning the silence of RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, Sitharaman said, “Didn’t you check it out when you had a joint campaign with the Congress leader in Bihar? Are you not answerable to that family in Bihar…?”
Sitharaman said BJP leader Vijay Sampla had gone to meet the victim’s family in Hoshiarpur.
On a question about the free-vaccine promise in BJP’s manifesto, Sitharaman said, “There’s no scrutiny on it. It is a manifesto announcement… Health is a state subject and it can obviously pick up on things which it wants to do. So it’s perfectly in order, I would think.”
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