NEW DELHI: While Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosts world leaders for the high-profile G20 Summit, his staunch opponent Rahul Gandhi has once again raked up controversy on foreign soils by claiming a “full-scale attack on democracy in India”.
Gandhi commenced his week-long Europe trip in Belgium. He arrived in Brussels on Thursday morning and met with European Union parliamentarians.
Interacting with media persons, the Gandhi scion claimed that EU parliamentarians were “very concerned” about the attack on the democratic institutions in the country.
He also said that there was a sense of panic and fear within the Modi government, which forced it to drop ‘Bharat’ from the country’s name. He called the ‘Bharat vs. India’ debate a tactic of distraction.
“We, of course, came out with the name INDIA for our coalition. I think it’s a fantastic idea because it represents exactly who we are. We consider ourselves to be the voice of India but it has obviously disturbed the PM enough that he wants to change the name of the country,’’ Gandhi stated.
Taking a jibe at the relationship between PM Modi and businessman Gautam Adani yet again, the Congress MP said, ‘’Every time we raise the issue of Mr. Adani and his crony capitalism, the prime minister comes up with some dramatic new diversion tactics.’’
Gandhi characterized the opposition’s vision as Mahatma Gandhi’s vision for India and the BJP’s vision as Nathuram Godse’s vision, stating, “The BJP has an alternate vision of India in which power should be centralized, wealth should be concentrated, and the conversation among the people of India should be suppressed.”
The attack on democratic institutions and alleged stifling of opposition voices has been the theme of the former Congress president in his lectures abroad.
He came under attack from the BJP following his lecture in the United Kingdom (UK) in March this year, with the saffron camp accusing him of seeking foreign intervention to restore democracy in India.
This time, however, Gandhi took great care not to attract similar accusations. “The democratic fight and the fight for democracy in India is ours. And it is our responsibility. And we will take care of it. And we will make sure that the sort of onslaught on our institutions and our freedom is stopped. The Opposition will make sure it happens,” he said.
In his extensive European tour, Gandhi has a packed itinerary. On Saturday, he also met with French parliamentarians and engaged with students at Sciences Po University before departing for the Netherlands. Gandhi is scheduled to return on September 12, following the conclusion of the G20 summit in Delhi, which ends on September 10.