Rahul Gandhi vs PM over comment on Hindus, Amit Shah demands apology

The Lok Sabha witnessed a tumultuous session on Monday as opposition MPs demanded a separate one-day discussion on the NEET paper leak issue, leading to a walkout after their request was denied.
Rahul Gandhi vs PM over comment on Hindus, Amit Shah demands apology
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Heated exchanges and uproar defined Rahul Gandhi's first speech as Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha on Monday, as the Congress leader whipped out a poster of Lord Shiva before targeting so-called "violent Hindus". Gandhi's remark prompted an immediate counter from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while Home Minister Amit Shah demanded an apology.

"All our great men have spoken about non-violence and finishing fear... But those who call themselves Hindu only talk about violence, hatred, untruth... Aap Hindu ho hi nahi (You're not Hindu by any means)," Gandhi said.

Such was the commotion over Gandhi's statement that PM Modi intervened, his first since becoming an MP in 2014. "Calling the entire Hindu community violent is a very serious charge," he said amid the clamor.

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Rahul Gandhi vs PM over comment on Hindus, Amit Shah demands apology

Gandhi retorted, "PM Modi, BJP-RSS are not the entire Hindu community."

Earlier, opposition lawmakers staged a walkout from the Lok Sabha on Monday after Speaker Om Birla ruled out a separate one-day discussion on the alleged NEET-UG paper leak proposed by Congress MP Rahul Gandhi.

Home Minister Amit Shah demanded that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi apologise for his controversial remark. “In this country, millions of people call themselves Hindu. Do they commit violence?” said Shah. “Associating the sentiment of violence with any religion is wrong, and he should apologise for this." Referring to the Emergency imposed by Congress in the 1970s, Shah accused the party of instilling fear across the nation. "They have no right to speak. During the Emergency, they terrorised the entire country with ideological terrorism," he said.

Rahul Gandhi raised concerns about irregularities in NEET-UG exam soon after the Lok Sabha assembled for the day and sought a one-day discussion on the issue.

"We wanted a one-day discussion on NEET. It is an important issue. More than two crore students have been affected. Paper leaks have happened on 70 occasions. We would be happy if you allow a separate discussion on the issue," Gandhi said.

However, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh refused to allow the discussion, citing House rules and procedures.

"In my decades-long tenure as a parliamentarian, never has any other issue been taken up during the motion of thanks on the President's address. Other issues can be raised after passing the motion of thanks," Rajnath Singh said.

Speaker Om Birla supported Singh's stance and rejected the Opposition's request, stating there was no convention for taking up any other discussion during the debate on the motion of thanks. He added that members could give a separate notice for a discussion on NEET.

As the Speaker called on BJP member Anurag Thakur to initiate the discussion on the motion of thanks on the President’s address, the opposition members left the chamber in protest.

Union Minister Giriraj Singh said the Opposition's behaviour was against Parliamentary decorum. "

In the midst of the uproar by the Opposition in the House, Speaker Om Birla addressed claims about switching off microphones. "Some MPs outside the House allege that the Speaker switches off the mic. The control of the mic is not in the hands of the person sitting on the chair," Birla said. Rahul Gandhi had last week claimed his microphone was turned off after seeking a discussion on the NEET issue.

The Rajya Sabha witnessed a spirited debate as Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge slammed the ruling party for prioritising slogans over development works during the discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the President's address.

Kharge pointed out that the President's address lacked mention of the poor, Dalits, and minorities. Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he accused him of attempting to divide society through his election speeches, a move Kharge claimed no other prime minister has made before.

The Upper House also saw moments of levity as Kharge and Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar traded banter. Kharge, citing knee pain, mentioned he could not stand for long. Dhankhar promptly responded, "You may address (the House) while sitting."

While referring to a speech by BJP MP Sudhanshu Trivedi, the Congress chief admitted that he sometimes get confused between Dwivedi, Trivedi, and Chaturvedi as he is from the South. Dhankhar, smiling, quipped, "We can have a half-hour discussion on this if you want."

Things grew heated when Kharge strongly called for the rollback of the Agniveer tri-service recruitment scheme. "The morale of the youth has been shattered by bringing an unplanned and 'tughlaqi' scheme like Agniveer...I demand that Agniveer scheme should be scrapped," he said.

Earlier in the day, several INDIA bloc MPs, including Rahul Gandhi, participated in a protest on the steps leading to the Makar Dwar in Parliament, alleging the misuse of probe agencies to target opposition leaders. AAP MP Raghav Chadha held a poster depicting Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal behind bars.

Source: India Today

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