By: Kimberly Rodrigues
Shashi Tharoor, a senior leader of the Indian National Congress, on Friday (17), defended Rahul Gandhi’s controversial remarks made during his recent trip to the UK.
Tharoor stated that Gandhi did not call for foreign intervention in India’s democracy, and his comments were not anti-national. The controversy surrounding Gandhi’s remarks has disrupted parliamentary proceedings for the first five days of the budget session’s second half.
Tharoor urged for the issue to be put aside and for Parliament to address the challenges facing the country.
When questioned about the BJP’s request for Gandhi to apologise for his remarks, Tharoor, the MP from Thiruvananthapuram, stated that he does not believe that the former Congress leader has any reason to apologise.
According to Tharoor, Gandhi never asked for foreign countries to intervene in India’s democracy. Tharoor defended Gandhi’s statement, saying that he simply called Indian democracy a global public good and that there was nothing to apologise for.
Tharoor also pointed out that if the BJP wants an apology from Gandhi for discussing domestic politics abroad, then Narendra Modi should also apologise.
Tharoor also said, on several occasions during his foreign visits, Modi has stated that India had achieved nothing in the 65 years prior to his taking office, and that Indians used to be embarrassed to travel abroad.
“I think when he (Modi) apologises for statements like that, then all of us can apologise for saying the opposite abroad. I think this is the level of political discourse we ought to grow out of,” he said.
Tharoor supported Gandhi’s remarks made during his UK trip. He also believed that there was nothing anti-national about Gandhi’s comments and that everyone is entitled to express their views on appropriate forums.
Gandhi claimed during his recent UK visit that Indian democracy is facing a “full-scale assault” on its institutions and structures. He also told British parliamentarians that microphones are switched off in the Lok Sabha when opposition members raise important issues.
The BJP accused Gandhi of maligning India on foreign soil and seeking foreign interventions, while the Congress responded by citing instances of Modi raising internal politics abroad, triggering a political controversy.
(With inputs from PTI)