Union Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday came down heavily on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his controversial Indian “democracy under attack” remark in London.
In a press conference held in the city on Monday, the Union minister said, “If any individual goes outside the country he has the freedom to speak but along with that freedom comes what I call the need to have a sense of responsibility. We are the world’s oldest democracy but Mr Gandhi goes to UK and says Indian democracy is facing an attack on the basic structure.”
The Union minister said Rahul Gandhi should apologise for his statement. He also hit back at the Congress, reminding them that it was under the Indira Gandhi regime that civil liberties were curbed.
The Union minister said he (Rahul Gandhi) hails China’s Belt and Road Initiative as a visionary step. “Does he know that China’s BRI goes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir?… His grandmother invoked Article 356, 150 times to suspend and dismiss legitimately elected state governments,” he added.
The acrimony continued to play out outside the Parliament with leaders from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress targeting each other over Rahul Gandhi’s remarks and the Adani issue.
Minutes after the proceedings started in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on Monday, both the houses were adjourned till 2 pm after Opposition MPs raised slogans demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) inquiry into the Adani stocks issue.
On Friday too, the proceedings in the two Houses of Parliament were disrupted for the fifth day as the ruling BJP and the opposition parties sought to vociferously raise their issues.
In his remarks at Cambridge University in the UK, Gandhi had said that everybody knows and it’s been in the news a lot that Indian democracy “is under pressure and under attack”.
“I am an Opposition leader in India, we are navigating that (Opposition) space,” Rahul Gandhi had said at Cambridge university in the UK. The institutional framework which is required for a democratic Parliament, free press, the judiciary, just the idea of mobilisation, moving around all are getting constrained. So, we are facing an attack on the basic structure of Indian democracy,” he had said. (ANI)