Rahul Gandhi Is Spot On; Democracy Is Under Strain In BJP Rule

Rahul Gandhi Is Spot On; Democracy Is Under Strain In BJP Rule

Lesley Foster, a student activist of St Xavier’s College, Bardhhaman, West Bengal, says our society needs to collectively work towards a vibrant and plural democracy. His views:

As a conscious citizen of India, I must state that I don’t belong to any political party and I don’t believe in violence. I oppose violence of any kind – in word or deed.

In this globalized world, we must tell everyone what is going on in India. If the BJP and RSS supporters can receive money from the US and other countries, and Narendra Modi can campaign for Donald Trump, then what is the problem with Rahul Gandhi talking about Indian democracy being under threat in the UK?

Despite the unfortunate situation in some parts of India, although a Christian, I have never had any feeling of being targeted in West Bengal, though I belong to a minority community. Like the Muslims, we are very much part of Bengali culture. But, with the coming of BJP, there is all-round concern due to the continuous propaganda of a so-called Hindu State, as is witnessed in the routine and dominant ruling party narrative. The divisive propaganda has entered the minds of young people as well. I am deeply concerned about this.

This disdain for dissent and critical enquiry is best seen in the current dispensation with overtly BJP-linkages at the prestigious Visva Bharati in Santiniketan, where I also stay and work. It seems they are keen on destroying all that Rabindranath Tagore stood for.

ALSO READ: Amartya Sen – Standing Up To Hindu Nationalists

Tagore has been a champion of diverse and inclusive cultures of this country (and the world) and he has given a new dimension to traditional festivals by transforming them to a vibrant, all-inclusive cultural festival. For instance, the ‘Poush Mela’ every year in winter, was initiated by his father, and over the years it has become an international fair of artisans and folk artists. Baul Fakirs would perform here for more than a century, and people would come from all over the world. Tragically, the current university authorities, aligned with the BJP, have stopped this intrinsically secular mela and have built a wall around the ground.

Why Indian democracy is in danger can be seen through the micro example in this world-famous centre for learning. The myopic authorities are persistent in maligning the alumni, residents of Santiniketan and all those who oppose whatever is happening. Even Noble laureate Amartya Sen, who visits and lives here in his ancestral home and is widely respected, has been attacked.

People from different countries come to visit Santiniketan because it is the place of Tagore, surrounded by the serenity of nature. In the outskirts there are tribal communities who are deeply connected with the culture and heritage of Santiniketan. Now, even this sublime space is under threat. As a concerned youth activist, I feel that we must engage with society, debate and discuss peacefully.

Foster with ‘Didi’ Manisha Banerjee

During Covid, for instance, there was sorrow, social isolation, death and despair all around. My mentor, Manisha Banerjee, popularly called Didi, Head Teacher of Labpur Satyanarayan Shikshaniketan, found a way to intervene effectively and help. A kitchen was formed to provide food to people affected with Covid and oxygen cylinders were provided to the patients. She formed a women’s team where her own daughter, Meghna, alongside Churki Hansda, Runi Khatun, Barnali Basu and others became the committed, 24×7 volunteers.

This incredible social engagement, in the most difficult circumstances during the pandemic, continued for five months, non-stop. Indeed, our services still carry on. We are only trying to make our country and society better.

As a sensitive youth, I must say that every young person must reach out and help so that this nation and its people can get a better tomorrow. In today’s world, there are youngsters totally involved with video games, electronic gadgets, etc. Few of them seem aware, but if all of us become awake, the big picture will become positive, life-affirming and full of hope, so that India can truly become a secular, egalitarian and democratic society.

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(The narrator is also a radio jockey in Lokayata Shantiniketan International Web Radio)

As told to Amit Sengupta

ED Adani Group issue.

Opposition To March To ED Office, Over Adani Issue

Several Opposition MPs on Wednesday morning, gathered for a meeting Rajya Sabha leader of opposition and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge’s Parliament chamber over the Adani Group issue.

As per the sources, the Opposition leaders may submit a proposal letter signed by all the MPs and may take out a protest march to the ED office and hand over their complaint to the agency on the issue.
Meanwhile, heavy security has been deployed at the Vijay Chowk ahead of the expected protest march by the Opposition party leaders on the Adani issue.

The Opposition has been raising the Adani issue and demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Hindenburg-Adani report.

The second leg of the Budget session of Parliament resumed after a month-long break on Monday. The recess was for enabling the department-related Parliamentary Standing Committees to examine the demands for grants and make reports relating to their ministries or departments.

The Parliament has also faced repeated disruptions amid the protest and ruckus in the house over regular protests by the Opposition.

Earlier on Monday, 16 parties participated in the Opposition party leaders’ meeting chaired by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge in Parliament.

Indian National Congress; Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Samajwadi Party; Janata Dal (United); Aam Admi Party; Communist Party of India (Marxist); Kerala Congress; Nationalist Congress Party; Communist Party of India; Indian Union Muslim League; Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray); Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam; Rashtriya Janata Dal; Jharkhand Mukti Morcha; Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi and the NC participated in the meeting.

The concerned report from US-based short-seller firm Hindenburg Research surfaced on January 24 claiming that the Adani Group had weak business fundamentals, and was involved in stock manipulation and accounting fraud, among others.

It is pertinent to mention that the Supreme Court set up an expert committee on the issue arising from the Hindenburg Research report on Adani Group companies. The committee will consist of six members, headed by former apex court judge Justice AM Sapre. (ANI)

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‘Unwholesome Misadventure’ To Denigrate India: Dhankhar Hits Rahul

‘Unwholesome Misadventure’ To Denigrate India: Dhankhar Hits Rahul

In a veiled attack on Congress MP Rahul Gandhi who recently delivered a lecture at Cambridge University in the UK, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar on Thursday said while India is having its moments of glory G20 presidency, some parliamentarians are engaged in the thoughtless unfair denigration of our well-nurtured democratic values

Vice President Dhankhar released a book on Mundaka Upanishad written by Dr Karan Singh.
Addressing the gathering at the event, Dhankhar said India is the most functional democracy that has evoked global recognition. India is setting global discourse on many issues.

“How ironic how painful! While the world is applauding our historic accomplishments as a functional vibrant democracy, some amongst us including parliamentarians are engaged in the thoughtless unfair denigration of our well-nurtured democratic values. How can we justify such wanton orchestration of a factually untenable narrative,” he said.

In a veiled attack on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his remarks in the UK, the Vice President said, “Mark the timing of this unwholesome misadventure – While India is having its moments of glory– as President of G20 and there are people outside of the country working in overdrive to denigrate us. Such misplaced campaign mode to taint and tarnish our parliament and constitutional entities is too serious and exceptional to be ignored or countenanced. No political strategy or partisan stance can justify compromising of our nationalism and democratic values.”

“If I observe silence on this misadventure-orchestration by a Member of Parliament outside the country which is ill-premised, unwholesome and motivated, I would be on the wrong side of the Constitution. It will be constitutional culpability and outrage of my oath of office,” Dhankhar said.

“How can I sanctify a statement that mikes in Indian Parliament mikes are put off? How can people say so? Has there been any illustration?” he stated.

In reference to the Emergency, Dhankhar said the country has a dark chapter of political history. Proclamation of Emergency was the darkest period any democracy can suffer.

He said Indian democratic polity is now mature and there can be no repeat of that.

Dhankhar said, “Anyone who says so, inside or outside the country, that in Indian Parliament Mikes are put off… Imagine this being done after having held the floor for nearly 50 minutes. Such kind of wanton and misadventure to run down our democratic values cannot be countenanced.”

Vice President said if he observes silence, the mass majority of people who believe in the nation will be silent forever. He said the country cannot allow such type of narrative to gain momentum by those elements who wish to antidote India’s rising growth.

“You run down our judiciary on foreign soil. Where on the planet is a judiciary that acts with lightning speed?” he said adding India’s judiciary is made with the most brilliant minds in the world.

He said the contemporaneous scenario in the temples of democracy is worrisome.”Disruption and not decorum is the order of the day,” Dhankhar said.

“Undoubtedly our people are concerned and anguished with projection as disruptors of proceedings, shouters of slogans and practitioners of indecorous conduct -throwing papers and whipping out mikes and walking into the well of the house? Our Parliamentarians need to exemplify conduct worth emulating,” he added.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said it is the duty of every Indian living around the world to protect democracy” India’s democracy.

The Congress MP, who was on a visit to the UK, criticised the Centre alleging that an attack has been unleashed on the basic structure of Indian democracy.

The Congress MP, who is visiting the UK, criticised the Centre alleging that an attack has been unleashed on the basic structure of Indian democracy.

Rahul Gandhi in an interaction at the Chatham House in London termed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) a “fundamentalist” and “fascist” organisation alleging that it has captured pretty much all of India’s institutions.

He said, “The nature of democratic contest in India has completely changed and the reason is that one organisation called RSS – a fundamentalist, fascist organisation has basically captured pretty much all of India’s institutions.”

Rahul Gandhi further said Europe and the US are not doing enough to restore democracy in India as they are getting trade and money from the country. “Why Europe and the US – the defenders of democracies were oblivious of how a huge chunk of democracy in India has come undone?” he questioned.

The Congress leader also mentioned how the various institutions in the country were under threat.

“It shocked me how successful they have been at capturing the different institutions of our country. Press, Judiciary, Parliament, and Election Commission are all under threat and are controlled in one way or the other,” Rahul Gandhi said.

“You can ask any Opposition leader as to how agencies are used. My phone had Pegasus on it, which was not happening when we were in power,” he added.

The Congress MP highlighted the condition of the Dalits and minorities in India.

He said, “In India, you can see what is being done to Dalits, tribals, and minorities. It is not that Congress is saying it. There are articles in the foreign press all the time that there is a serious problem with Indian democracy.” (ANI)

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SBI Team Debunks Raghuram Assessment On Slowing Indian Growth

SBI Team Debunks Raghuram Assessment On Slowing Indian Growth

The argument that India is going towards a ‘Hindu rate of growth’ is “ill-conceived, biased and pre-mature” when weighed against the respective data on savings and investments, said SBI Research in its Ecowrap report.

The term Hindu rate of growth was coined by economist Raj Krishna in 1978, which denoted the economic growth of about 3.5-4.0 per cent in terms of GDP during 1947-1980.

“India’s quarterly sequential Y-o-Y GDP growth has been in a declining trend in FY23. It has been argued in select quarters that India is going towards Raj Krishna coined rate of Growth (3.5-4 per cent) that predominated the growth in the period of 1947-1980. We find the argument ill-conceived, biased and pre-mature at its best when weighing the numbers against the data on savings and investments,” the Ecowrap report said.

The SBI Research report comes on the backdrop of former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan, having told media that economic growth of India was close to that of Raj Krishna coined term ‘Hindu rate of growth’.

Further, SBI Research argued institutional share of the Public and Private sectors in total Gross Capital Formation (GCF) has been nearly constant since FY12 at around 10 per cent and 34 per cent of GDP, respectively.

According to World Bank, the gross capital formation consists of investments on addition to the fixed assets of the economy plus net changes in the level of inventories.

Gross capital formation by the government touched a high of 11.8 per cent in 2021-22, up from 10.7 per cent in 2020-21. This, the SBI report said, also had a domino effect on private sector investment that jumped from 10 per cent to 10.8 per cent over the same period.

“In fact, the trends in GCF to gross output ratio or the plough back of funds for the creation of fresh capacity shows that for public administration the ration attained a fresh peak in 2021-22 owing to the emphasis on capital expenditure in recent budgets,” the report said.

Moreover, it argued that household savings in India increased sharply during the pandemic period on account of sharp accretion in financial savings such as deposits.

“While household financial savings have since then moderated from 15.4 per cent in 2020-21 to 11.1 per cent in 2022-23, savings in physical assets have grown sharply to 11.8 per cent in 2021-22 from 10.7 per cent in 2020-21.”

An analysis by SBI Research prima facie showed that the Incremental Capital Output Ratio (ICOR), which measures the additional units of capital investment needed to produce an additional unit of output, has been improving. ICOR which was 7.5 in FY12 is now only 3.5 in FY22, which essentially means only half of the capital is now needed for the next unit of output.

“Such reducing ICOR in the current years reflects a relative increasing efficiency of capital. The talk on ICOR becomes relevant shows that the economy is on a sound footing. It is also now clear that potential growth of Indian economy (a global phenomenon) is now lower than earlier. From that point of view, future GDP growth rates even at 7 per cent could still mean a decent number by any standards!” SBI Research’s report added. (ANI)

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Suppression Of Voice: Rahul On BBC Documentary

Suppression Of Voice: Rahul On BBC Documentary

Attacking the centre in an interaction arranged by the Indian Journalists Association in London, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called the recent raids conducted at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) offices across India a “suppression of voice”, alleging that BJP under its “new Idea of India” wants India to be “silent”.While speaking at the event, Rahul Gandhi was asked about the controversy regarding the BBC documentary, and centre’s allegations of a “colonial hangover”, to which Rahul Gandhi replied, “It’s sort of similar to Mr Adani, it’s also a colonial hangover.”

Addressing the event, Rahul Gandhi said, “You know every place there is Opposition, there is an excuse. You asked why we did the yatra, what was the idea behind the yatra. The idea behind the yatra was an expression of voice. And there is suppression of voice across the country. Example is the BBC, but BBC is just one element of it.”
“You found out, well, the BBC has found out now, but it’s been going on in India for the last nine years, non-stop, everybody knows about that. Journalists are intimidated, they (are) attacked, they are threatened. And you know the journalists who toed the line of the government, are rewarded. So it’s a part of a pattern, and I wouldn’t expect anything different,” he added.

The Congress leader said that BJP wants India to be “silent” under the “new Idea of India”.

“If the BBC stops writing against the government, everything will go back to normal, all the cases will disappear, everything (will) go back to normal. So this is the new Idea of India. BJP wants India to be silent. They want it to be quiet, the Dalits, the lower castes, the Adivasis, the media they want silence, and they want silence because they want to be able to take what is India’s and give it to their close friends,” he said.

He further added, “So that’s basically the idea right, distract the population, and then hand over India’s wealth to two, three, four, five big people. I mean we have seen this, we have seen this before also, but that’s not something.”

Responding to audience’s question regarding the BBC issue, Rahul Gandhi said, “The point I was making about the BBC was that anybody who supports the Prime Minister blindly is supported, and anybody who raises question on the Prime Minister is attacked, and that’s what happened with the BBC.

On being asked about the allegations of “defaming India on foreign soil” Rahul Gandhi said, “There’s nothing defaming India in my Cambridge lecture.”

He said, “Last time I recall the Prime Minister going abroad, and announcing that there’s nothing done in 60 years of Independence, 70 years of Independence. I remember him saying that, you know there is a lost decade of 10 years, there’s unlimited corruption in India. I remember him saying this abroad. These were not things he said in India, these were things he said abroad.”

Rahul Gandhi accused BJP of “twisting” his statements, and the media of “playing it up”.

“So, I have never defamed my country, I am not interested in it and I will never do it. Of course, the BJP likes to twist what I say, and that’s fine, and the media likes to sort of play it up. I mean, it gives TRPs and all, but the fact of the matter is the person who defames India is the Prime Minister of India.”

He further added, “You haven’t heard his speech? where he said nothing happened in 70 years, insulting every single Indian parents, Indian grandparents. The independence is washed away, if that is not insult, then what’s an insult? Or saying you know there was a lost decade, nothing happened in India for the last 10 years. So what about all those people who worked in India, who built India in those 10 years? He’s doing on foreign soil.”

On being asked about how the narratives gets built up, the Congress leader alleged that it happens because there is Mr Adani behind the narrative.

“Of course, it does (narrative gets built), because there’s money behind the narrative, there’s Mr Adani behind the narrative, there’s billions of dollars behind the narrative. And there’s a transfer taking place, and then India’s wealth is given to Mr Adani, so that’s the exchange, it’s a transfer. We don’t accept the transfer, we don’t do it, hence no narrative,” he further said.

The I-T officials surveyed the UK-based broadcaster’s offices over a charge of ‘deliberate non-compliance with Indian laws’, including ‘transfer pricing rules and the diversion of profits illegally.’

The BBC had in January this year released the documentary film titled ‘India: The Modi Question,” which features the Gujarat riots of 2002. The film caused controversy for alluding to the leadership of Modi as chief minister during the riots while disregarding the clean chit given by the Supreme Court. (ANI)

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Jaishankar Doesn’t Understand China Threat: Rahul

Jaishankar Doesn’t Understand China Threat: Rahul

Attacking the NDA government at the Centre, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar “does not understand the China threat,” adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement that “nobody has entered Indian territory” is an invitation to the Chinese that they can do it again.

In a conversation with members of the Indian Journalists’ Association in London, the Wayanad MP also said that he supports Indian foreign policy and doesn’t have a huge disagreement with it with regard to India’s position on the Russia-Ukraine war.
“As far as Indian foreign policy is concerned, I support the Indian foreign policy and I am okay with it. I don’t have a huge disagreement with it,” he said when asked a hypothetical question that if China or Pakistan invaded India and since India hadn’t taken a position on the Russia-Ukraine war, it could also be ignored by the World if an invasion into India happened.

Gandhi said, “With regards to an invasion, we have already been invaded. We have got 2000 square km of our territory that is in the hands of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the Prime Minister himself has stated that nobody has entered India, not a single inch of land has been taken and this destroyed our negotiation position because our negotiators are being asked what’s the fuss about.”

“Your Prime Minister says that no land has been taken. So that’s one aspect of it. The other aspect which I keep saying is India needs to be very, very careful with what the Chinese are doing at the border. The Chinese are acting in a hostile manner, in an aggressive manner and we need to be very very careful and I have been stating that again and again, I don’t think the penny has dropped in the government. I think there is a risk as you say,” added Gandhi.

Speaking about Congress’s China policy, Rahul Gandhi said that Congress’s policy was that they would not allow anyone to enter Indian territory.

“The Congress party’s policy on China is very clear, we do not accept anybody entering our territory and pushing us around and bullying us. It doesn’t matter who they are, that’s not acceptable to us and what has happened is that the Chinese entered our territory, killed our soldiers and the prime minister has denied it,” he said.

“That’s the problem. The idea, we have a relationship with the United States and we have a partnership with them and we have a shred democratic free idea. I think there is a coercive idea on a planet and there is a democratic idea on a planet and I think a democratic planet needs to be strengthened. But you will not strengthen the democratic idea unless you start to fundamentally think about things like production. The huge amount of inequality that is erupting in the West and India is a threat to the democratic idea. We have to think about that. We have to have a strategy for that and that’s not on the table,” he added.

When asked about how India should deal with military threats, the Congress leader said, “You have to deal with military threats militarily. But you have to understand the nature of the threat and you have to respond to the nature of the threat. I had one conversation with the Foreign Minister in my view he doesn’t understand the threat. The government is not understanding the actual threat from China. The Prime Minister stating that nobody has entered our territory demonstrates that he does not understand the threat because the message to China with that statement is you can do it again,” added Rahul Gandhi in an interaction at the Indian Journalists Association in London.

Earlier, hitting out at Rahul Gandhi who has been targeting the government over China’s aggression on the LAC in eastern Ladakh, Jaishankar said that it is not the Congress leader but Prime Minister Narendra Modi who sent the Army to the Line of Actual Control as a countermeasure to troop deployment by China and the opposition party should have honesty to look at what happened in 1962.

“When did that area actually come under Chinese control? They (Congress) must have some problem understanding words beginning with ‘C’. I think they are deliberately misrepresenting the situation. The Chinese first came there in 1958 and the Chinese captured it in October 1962. Now you are going to blame the Modi government in 2023 for a bridge which the Chinese captured in 1962 and you don’t have the honesty to say that it is where it happened,” said Dr Jaishankar in an interview to ANI.

“Rajiv Gandhi went to Beijing in 1988…signed agreements in 1993 and 1996. I do not think signing those agreements was wrong. This is not a political point I am making. I think those agreements were signed at that time because we needed to stabilise the border. And they did, stabilise the border,” said Jaishankar.

When asked that Rahul Gandhi thought S Jaishankar was insufficient. Jaishankar said that he was always open to listen. “I think he said this somewhere in a public meeting. It is probably in the context of China. All I can say in my defence is I have been the longest-serving ambassador in China. I have been dealing with a lot of these border issues for a very long time. I am not suggesting that I am necessarily the most knowledgeable person, but I would have a fairly good self-opinion of my understanding of what is up there. If he has superior knowledge and wisdom on China, I am always willing to listen. As I said, for me life is a learning process. If that is a possibility, I have never closed my mind to anything however improbable that may be,” said Jaishankar.

The External Affairs Minister stressed that when other countries’ demands are not reasonable, the government will not be able to come to an agreement.

Asked about the Congress party’s allegation that the Modi government is defensive and reactive on the China issue, Jaishankar dismissed the claims saying there is currently the largest peacetime deployment along the China border.

“If I would have to sum up this China thing, please do not buy this narrative that somewhere the government is on the defensive…somewhere we are being accommodative. I ask people if we were being accommodative who sent the Indian Army to the LAC (Line of Actual Control). Rahul Gandhi did not send them. Narendra Modi sent them. We have today the largest peacetime deployment in our history on the China border. We are keeping troops there at a huge cost with great effort. We have increased our infrastructure spending on the border five times in this government. Now tell me who is the defensive and accommodative person? Who is actually telling the truth? Who is depicting things accurately? Who is playing footsie with history?”,” added Jaishankar in an interview to ANI.

Asked about Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s remarks that S Jaishankar did not know much about foreign policy and needed to learn a little bit more, the External Affairs Minister took a veiled dig and said he is willing to listen to the Wayanad MP if he has “superior knowledge and wisdom” on China. (ANI)

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Pegasus In His Mind: Anurag On Rahul’s Fresh Snooping Charge At Centre

Pegasus In His Mind: Anurag On Rahul’s Fresh Snooping Charge At Centre

Lashing out at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his claim of being snooped on through Israeli spyware Pegasus, Union Minister Anurag Thakur on Friday said it is his habit to raise unfounded allegations and ‘defame’ India on foreign shores.

The Union minister’s statement comes in the wake of Rahul Gandhi claiming, in a lecture at Cambridge University, that his phone was being spied on through Pegasus, and that he was warned by Intelligence officers to be “careful” about what he says on the calls.
“I had Pegasus on my phone. A large number of politicians had Pegasus on their phones. I have been called by Intelligence officers who told me, ‘Please be careful about what you are saying on the phone because we are sort of recording the stuff’. So this is the constant pressure that we feel. Cases on the Opposition. I have got a number of criminal liable cases for things that should under no circumstances be criminal liable cases. That’s what we are trying to defend,” the Congress leader said in his address.

Hitting back at Rahul, Thakur asked why he did not submit his phone for examination before the Supreme Court-appointed committee, which was set up to look into the snooping allegations against the government.

“What was his compulsion that he could not submit his mobile phone (before the committee) to have it checked for Pegasus spyware? He is already on bail in a (National Herald) corruption case. What was there in his phone that he needed to hide? Why did he and other leaders (who Rahul claims were allegedly spied on) not submit their phones? It has become his habit to defame India on foreign shores,” Thakur said.

While not naming billionaire investor George Soros, who was recently in the news over his statement against Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a security conference in Munich, Thakur said, “It could be Rahul Gandhi’s hatred towards the Prime Minister (that makes him raise such allegations). But it also raises larger questions on the Congress’ agenda to defame the country repeatedly from a foreign land, sometimes from a foreign friend. Has Congress lost its faith in our constitutional institutions? Will Congress continue to raise questions about India’s democracy? Rahul Gandhi left no stone unturned in defaming India on foreign land,” the Union minister added.

Thakur said the Congress MP has Pegasus in his mind and nowhere else.

“As the election results (in Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland) showed yesterday, the Congress has been wiped out again. Hence, this is just Rahul Gandhi ranting against our government in frustration. He knew how his party was going to fare in the elections. Pegasus is in his mind, nowhere else. World leaders are commending India’s growth and how the country’s image and position has been elevated on the global platform under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. If not someone else, Rahul Gandhi could have listened to the Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (at the G20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting on Thursday). Maybe, Rahul Gandhi could not accept this (Meloni’s praise for PM Modi), and neither could he accept the mandate of the people,” the Union Sports minister said.

On Rahul allegations of rising attacks on minorities in India, Thakur said the Congress resorted to ‘Divide and Rule’ when in power, and while the country, under PM Modi, has shed its colonial baggage and mindset, the grand old party doesn’t seem to have done the same.

“The Congress has divided people on the basis of caste, religion and community which was born out of a mindset of ‘Divide and Rule’. However, the country has now shed this colonial mindset,” he said.

Meanwhile, dismissing the allegations raised by the Congress MP against the government on Friday, Union Telecom minister Ashwni Vaishnaw told ANI, “What can I say on his remarks? His needle seems to have got stuck somewhere. He needs to move on from this.”

Earlier, in his lecture, Rahul Gandhi had shared a picture of himself in the presentation slide in which he is seen being held by police personnel, claiming that the Opposition leaders were “locked up” for “just standing” in front of the Parliament House to raise some issues, while also alleging that such incidents have happened “relatively violently”.

“In the Constitution, India is described as a Union of States, and that Union requires negotiation and conversation. It is that negotiation that is under attack and threat. You can see the picture that was taken in front of our Parliament House. The Opposition leaders, including myself, were just standing there, talking about certain issues, when we were detained and put in jail. That’s happened 3 or 4 times. It has happened relatively violently. You have also heard of the attacks on minorities and the press. This does give you a sense of what’s going on (in India),” Rahul claimed.

In August last year, the Supreme Court-appointed committee to look into snooping allegations against the government concluded that the spyware was not found in the 29 mobile phones examined by it, but malware was found in five mobile phones.

Reading the report of the committee, the bench had said, “We are concerned about the technical committee report… 29 phones were given and in five phones some malware was found but the technical committee says it cannot be said to be Pegasus.” (ANI)

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I Had Pegasus On My phone, Indian Democracy Under Attack: Rahul

I Had Pegasus On My phone, Indian Democracy Under Attack: Rahul

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi launched a scathing attack at the Centre during a lecture at Cambridge University, alleging that an attack has been unleashed on the basic structure of Indian democracy while also claiming that Israeli spyware Pegasus was being used to snoop into his phone.

Rahul claimed that he had been warned by the intelligence officers to be “careful” while speaking on the phone as his calls were being recorded.
Congress leader and ex-advisor to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sam Pitroda shared the YouTube link of Rahul Gandhi’s address to MBA students at Cambridge Judge Business School on the topic of ‘Learning to Listen in the 21st Century’, on Twitter.

“I myself had Pegasus on my phone. A large number of politicians had Pegasus on their phones. I have been called by intelligence officers who told me, ‘Please be careful about what you are saying on the phone because we are sort of recording the stuff. So this is the constant pressure that we feel. Cases on the Opposition. I have got a number of criminal liable cases for things that should under no circumstances be criminal liable cases. That’s what we are trying to defend,” the Congress leader said in his address.

In August last year, the Supreme Court-appointed committee, set up to look into the allegations of the government allegedly using Pegasus for snooping, had concluded that the spyware was not found in the 29 mobile phones examined by it, but the malware was found in five mobile phones.

Reading the report of the committee, the bench had said, “We are concerned about the technical committee report… 29 phones were given and in five phones some malware was found but the technical committee says it cannot be said to be Pegasus.”

Rahul alleged further that constraints were being put on the Parliament, press and the Judiciary in the country.

“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. The institutional framework which is required for a democracy — 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,” the Congress MP alleged.

Sharing a picture of himself in the presentation slide in which he is seen being held by the police personnel, the Congress leader claimed that the Opposition leaders were “locked up” in jail for “just standing” in front of the Parliament House to talk about some issues, while also alleging that such incidents have happened “relatively violently”.

“In the Constitution, India is described as a Union of States, and that Union requires negotiation and conversation. It is that negotiation that is under attack and threat. You can see the picture which is taken in front of Parliament House. The Opposition leaders were just standing there talking about certain issues, and we were put in jail. That’s happened 3 or 4 times. It has happened relatively violently. You have also heard of the attacks on minorities and the press. You get a sense of what is going on,” Rahul claimed. (ANI)

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Chouhan Lashes Out At Cong For Using Photos Of Freedom Fighters In Its Advt

Chouhan Lashes Out At Cong For Using Photos Of Freedom Fighters In Its Advt

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has lashed out at the Congress party over using photographs of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr B R Ambedkar, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and other prominent leaders in the advertisement of Congress’ 85th plenary session.

The three-day 85th plenary session of the Congress Party was held in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur and it ended on February 26.
Addressing the media persons in the state capital Bhopal, Chouhan on Monday said, “I was surprised that the Congress party used the photo of Mahatma Gandhi in the advertisements of its national convention. Gandhi had said to dissolve the Congress after independence and make the Congress a Lok Sevak Sangh. He was not in favour of keeping the Congress (as a political party).”

The Congress put up the photo of Dr B R Ambedkar. They (Congress) used a photo of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, who had left the Congress, he said, adding that Netaji formed Forward Bloc (All India Forward Bloc) and then later formed the Azad Hind Fauj.

Chouhan further added that they put a photo of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who was always humiliated by Congress. The Congress used the photo of P V Narasimha Rao whom they did not not even allow to be cremated properly.

The Congress put the photos of those whom they never respected. They have no right to put their photos only for political gains, Chouhan added.

CM Chouhan further attacked the Congress party over twitter as well. He wrote, “To humiliate is the culture of Congress. Former Prime Minister late Indira Gandhi threw out the former PM Late Lal Bahadur Shastri out of Teen Murti Bhawan. The insulting words were ‘it is bigger than you (Shastri) think’. Today, they are not ashamed of using Shastri’s photo.”

Look at the act of the Congress to humiliate, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi themselves took the Bharat Ratna, bypassing the dignitaries dedicated to the country’s innovation, he wrote, elaborating that using the portraits of the people whom they insulted for political gains shows the moral decline of the Congress.

“Rahul Gandhi, whose ‘intellect, discretion and understanding’ is known to the whole country, tore the copies of the ordinance brought by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Insulting the government of their own party and the Prime Minister of the country is not new in the Congress. The country has seen the humiliation of Sitaram Kesari,” Chouhan further wrote in the tweet. (ANI)

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Rahul Writes To Speaker, Seeking Permission To Respond To Allegations

I Learnt A Lot From Bharat Jodo Yatra: Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has said he learnt a lot during his just concluded months-long ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ during which he met people from all sections of the society.

“During Bharat Jodo Yatra I learned a lot. I walked for my nation from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. Thousands connected with me and other party leaders during the yatra. I listened to all problems of farmers and realised their pain,” Rahaul, an MP from Kerala’s Wayanad constituency, said on Sunday at the party’s ongoing 85th Plenary Session in Raipur.

The yatra began on September 7, 2022, from Kanyakumari and passed through 12 states, culminating in Jammu and Kashmir — covering a total distance of about 4,000 kms over the course of four-and-a-half-months.

He also mentioned Jammu and Kashmir leg of his yatra, saying that he felt like being at home when he reached there.

“52 years passed and I still don’t have a home, but when I reached Kashmir, it felt like home. The yatra was to make people of all castes and age groups feel at home. People were not talking political with me during the yatra but it all changed when I reached Kashmir,” Gandhi said.

According to Congress, the walk was aimed at uniting and strengthening India. It also sought to address unemployment and inflation issues, and what the Congress claimed, was the “politics of hate and division and over-centralisation of our political system”.

Further, Rahul Gandhi, targeting the BJP, said politics should revolve around unemployment and economic matters.

“During elections, issues not relevant to the public are raised. Politics should be on how to tackle unemployment, strengthen GDP, and take our economy forward. The BJP raided us but we are standing strong,” he added. (ANI)

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