Rahul Gandhi denigrated position of LoP: Vaishnaw, Rijiju

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Union ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and Kiren Rijiju on Monday accused Rahul Gandhi of denigrating the responsible position of the Leader of Opposition with his "extremely irresponsible" speech in Lok Sabha in which he made "untruthful" claims about a host of issues, including Agnipath scheme and compensation to locals in Ayodhya.

They also accused Gandhi of inflicting "grave insult" on the Hindus by allegedly linking them with violence and spreading untruth.

BJP Rajya Sabha member Sudhanshu Trivedi said the Congress has a history of insulting Hindus, as he cited former home ministers P Chidambaram and Sushil Kumar Shinde's alleged terrorism barbs for the religion.

Gandhi, he said, took his oath as an MP this time not in the name of God but through solemn affirmation.

"In 2014, he had taken oath in the name of 'Ishwar' in Hindi. What has changed since 2014?" he asked, noting that he was speaking about issues of religious faith in his speech on Monday.

Rijiju said the ruling BJP has challenged many of the claims made by Gandhi in his speech in Lok Sabha and has sought action from the Speaker.

Gandhi will have to substantiate or tender an apology, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister said, slamming the LoP's allegations on Agnipath scheme and compensation for the residents of Ayodhya during development projects there.

Over Rs 1,253 crore compensation was given to the local shopkeepers and others, and they were helped in relocation, Vaishnaw said.

Rijiju noted that Home Minister Amit Shah also urged Speaker Birla in the House to verify the claims made by Gandhi as he cannot get away by making misleading assertions.

Vaishnaw, the railway, IT and electronics, and information and broadcasting minster, said BJP leaders like former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L K Advani and Sushma Swaraj were the leader of opposition at different points of time and brought responsibility and seriousness to the position.

"Gandhi has always enjoyed power without responsibility. Now he holds a responsible position. But he made a most irresponsible speech today," he said, claiming that the Congress has always weakened the constitutional bodies.

Gandhi had once torn apart a Cabinet decision while Sonia Gandhi chaired the National Advisory Council which overshadowed the government, he said. Everyone knows what happened in the Emergency, he said. 


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