Monday, May 29, 2023

I asked PM about Adani, he responded by questioning my surname: Rahul attacks Modi

Addressing a meeting in Wayanad, says, “maybe Mr Modi doesn’t understand this... generally in India we have our father's surname”; adds that the PM may see himself as a strongman but does not scare him.

Rahul GandhiCongress Leader Rahul Gandhi with beneficiaries of Kaithangu project in Wayanad. (PTI)
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I asked PM about Adani, he responded by questioning my surname: Rahul attacks Modi
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Stepping up his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the allegations against the Adani Group, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Monday asked why the PM would not answer the questions he had asked of him in the Lok Sabha but instead resorted to talking about his surname.

Alleging a “nexus” between Modi and Gautam Adani, Rahul also said he had written a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla with “supporting proof” to back his remarks regarding the same, which were expunged from the House records. The Lok Sabha Secretariat had asked Rahul to respond by February 15 to notices given by BJP members regarding his remarks on the PM.

Addressing a public meeting in his Lok Sabha constituency Wayanad, Rahul asked why the Modi comment that had “directly insulted” him by referring to his surname had not been expunged. “He says why is your name Gandhi and not Nehru. So the Prime Minister of the country directly insults me but his words are not taken off the record. But it does not matter because the truth always comes out,” Rahul said.

Replying to the Motion of Thanks on President’s Address in the Rajya Sabha, Modi had said: “If we miss out on mentioning (Jawaharlal) Nehru anywhere, they (the Congress) get upset. Nehru was such a great person, then why do none of them use the Nehru surname? What is the shame in using the Nehru name?”

Rahul said: “I asked the Prime Minister some questions. I asked him about his relationship with Mr Adani. I asked how Mr Adani has grown so fast. The Prime Minister did not answer a single question. His response to my questions was that why are you not called Nehru, why are you called Gandhi. Because generally in India… maybe Mr Modi doesn’t understand this… But generally in India our surname is the surname of our father.”

In contrast, Rahul said, his remarks were expunged, though, “I spoke in the most polite, respectful tone. I did not use any bad language. I did not abuse anybody. I just raised certain facts.”

Rahul also asked the people to observe his body language and that of the PM during their respective speeches in Parliament. “All you had to do was look at my face when I was speaking and look at his face while he was speaking. Look at how many times he drank water, how his hand was shaking when he was drinking water, and you will understand everything,” he said.


Modi may consider himself a strongman whom everyone should fear, Rahul said. “He doesn’t realise that the absolute last thing I am scared of is Narendra Modi. It doesn’t matter whether he is the Prime Minister and whether he has all the agencies… it doesn’t matter. Because the truth is not on his side. And one day he will be forced to face his truth.”

About his speech in the House, Rahul said: “I pointed out how Mr Adani travelled with the Prime Minister to foreign countries and then, immediately after that, was rewarded by getting contracts in these countries. I showed how 30% of the airport traffic today is controlled by Mr Adani simply because he has a relationship with the Prime Minister… I spoke about how the rules were changed so that Mr Adani could get these airports. Earlier people who did not have experience in running airports were not allowed to participate. And the rules were changed to allow Mr Adani to participate. The NITI Aayog, other institutions said he should not be allowed, but he was still allowed.”

He went on to reiterate his allegations against the Adani Group regarding how it had bagged contracts in Bangladesh and a power project in Sri Lanka, secured loan offers from the SBI, and taken over the Mumbai airport “after agencies threatened the people who ran the airport”. Adani has “got all the airports, the ports, defence contracts, coal contracts, mining contracts, road contracts, agriculture… every industry, Mr Adani is set to monopolise. And there are shell companies abroad that are sending thousands of crores of rupees into India and nobody knows who these shell companies belong to.”


Asking why when he said the same things in Parliament, his speech was edited “and not allowed to go into the records of the House”, Rahul said: “Apparently saying the name Adani and Ambani together is insulting the Prime Minister of India. But you can see pictures of them together all across the Internet. You can see the Prime Minister flying in Mr Adani’s plane. You can see him relaxing, laughing with Mr Adani inside his plane. Mr Adani travels on delegations with the Prime Minister to foreign countries. He magically arrives in foreign countries when the Prime Minister is there. And, nothing (that I) said was untrue. It was all factual. Anybody can go on the Internet, go to Google and ask the questions that I have asked, and you will find all of it.”

The rules of the House say “parts of a speech can be removed from (parliamentary) records if you are saying something without support or if you are insulting someone”, Rahul added. “I did not insult anybody. I used the kindest language, the most polite language and everything I said was based on proof.”

The Congress leader said he had now provided the proof as well. “I have written a letter to the Speaker with every single point that they have removed and the supporting proof.”

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However, he added, he didn’t expect his words to go back on the record.

First published on: 13-02-2023 at 18:56 IST
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