Heated debate witnessed in Parliament, PM Modi responds to Rahul’s allegations

On Monday, in an almost 100-minute critique of the government in the Lok Sabha (LS), Leader of Opposition (LoP) Rahul Gandhi flagged the lacunae of the goods and services tax regime that he alleged had broken the back of small and medium businesses to favour select crony capitalists, pointed out the livelihood challenges facing the poor, and termed the Agnipath scheme as discriminatory.

Rahul accused the leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of not being Hindus as they engaged in “violence and hate” round the clock. The treasury Benches, led by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi, protested the Congress leader’s comments.

Intervening during Rahul’s speech, Modi said, “This issue is very serious. Calling the entire Hindu community violent is a serious issue.” To which Rahul said that he was talking about the BJP and that the ruling party is not the sole representative of Hinduism. “Ye theka nahi hai BJP ka,” he said.

As the treasury Bench members protested, Rahul said, “Aap (the BJP) Hindu ho hi nahi. It is clearly written in Hinduism that one should stand with the truth and not back down from the truth or be scared of it,” he said and added that a true Hindu would not spread fear and hatred.

The PM intervened twice during Rahul’s speech. When Rahul alleged that ministers did not greet him due to the fear of Modi, the PM got up to say, “The Constitution and (the country’s) democracy have taught me to take the LoP with utmost seriousness.”

Apart from the PM, at least five Cabinet ministers, including Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, and Shivraj Singh Chouhan, also interjected during Rahul’s speech, which lasted for about an hour and 40 minutes. Shah demanded his apology for painting the Hindu community as violent. Shah said the uproar created by the Opposition could not drown the fact that the words “those who call themselves Hindus indulge in violence” were used in the House. Shah urged Speaker Om Birla to seek verification of Rahul’s claims.