Disruptions in Parliament over the BJP’s offensive over Rahul Gandhi’s remarks and the Opposition’s demand for a joint parliamentary committee probe into the Adani-Hindenberg row continued for the fourth day today. Both Houses were adjourned till 2 pm soon after they met this morning.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is expected to attend the session today and address the massive controversy over his comments in London expressing concern about the state of democracy in India. The Congress has flatly rejected the ruling BJP’s calls for an apology by Rahul Gandhi.
Ahead of an expected confrontation in parliament, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju today ratcheted up pressure, accusing the Congress leader of speaking lies in London and denigrating the nation.
“The person who speaks the most in this country, and targets the government day and night, says abroad that he does not have the freedom to speak in India,” Mr Rijiju said, speaking to reporters.
“Rahul Gandhi can sink the Congress, we don’t care. But if he tries to harm or insult the nation, we as citizens cannot be silent. Just because the country has rejected the Congress leadership, doesn’t mean he can tarnish the nation abroad,” he added.
The Law Minister said Rahul Gandhi spoke the language of anti-India forces.
“It is very sad that an MP lowers the prestige of parliament. Anti-India forces all speak the same language. All anti-India gang members talk on same lines. They repeat whatever Rahul Gandhi says,” Mr Rijiju railed.
Yesterday, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said “there is no question of an apology” over Rahul Gandhi’s remarks in the UK. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had often attacked the Congress on his trips abroad, he pointed out.
“I want to ask those who are seeking an apology that Modiji went to five-six countries and there he (Modi) humiliated our country saying it was a sin to be born in India, now these people same people are curbing freedom of expression,” Mr Kharge said.
An array of Union Ministers has been denouncing Rahul Gandhi for his comments in London. At a lecture at Cambridge University, the Congress MP said the Indian democracy is under pressure and opposition voices are being stifled.
Rahul Gandhi had said, “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 democracy is Parliament, free press, and the judiciary, just the idea of mobilisation, and moving around all are getting constrained. So, we are facing an attack on the basic structure of Indian democracy.”
The Congress and other opposition parties have accused the ruling BJP of trying to deflect attention from the Adani-Hindenburg row and ducking demands for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to investigate the allegations of Hindenburg against the Adani Group. The Adani Group has strongly denied allegations of stock fraud and share price manipulation.
The Supreme Court last month ordered a panel of experts to investigate the regulatory processes and the impact on investors of the Hindenburg allegations, which led to the crash of Adani Group stocks.
The government has also said market regulator SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) will submit a report within two months of its probe into the allegations.