New Delhi: The controversy over Rahul Gandhi’s remarks in London keeps finding new venues to create a ruckus. After heavy chaos in Parliament, the issue was raised during a Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting, reported ANI. It was chaired by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on India’s G20 presidency in the national capital.
According to the news agency ANI, Jaishankar gave a detailed presentation on the G20 presidency to the committee members. Congress MP Rahul Gandhi was among the opposition members present at the meeting.
Amidst the meeting, a ruling party MP raised the issue of political leaders trying to get praise by talking about Indian democracy on foreign land, reported ANI citing sources. The agency added that when the comment was made, Rahul Gandhi intervened and said it was an indirect reference to him.
The sources told ANI that the Wayanad MP further said that his criticism was against an individual, who was named in a report and not against the government adding that an individual industrialist was not the government as was perceived.
Gandhi added that he did not speak in the manner that the ruling BJP was claiming he did.
Sources further told the news agency that one of the BJP MPs countered Gandhi’s remarks saying the meeting was not the appropriate platform to speak about this. A few other MPs who were present at the meeting said the same while opposition leaders backed Rahul Gandhi’s right to clarify.
ANI mentioned citing sources that EAM Jaishankar also asked Gandhi to not speak on the matter on this platform
Reacting to the development after the meeting, according to ANI, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted, “A good meeting of the Consultative Committee on External Affairs today on India’s foreign policy objectives in the G-20 was somewhat marred by some members needlessly politicising the discussion. @RahulGandhi robustly responded to them & it ended with an amicable group photograph.”
A BJP MP who was present in the meeting told ANI, “There is no doubt that Mr. Gandhi used this platform because he came under tremendous pressure in the wake of the backlash seen in Parliament and among the public over his remarks in London.”
Sources further told ANI that EAM Jaishankar took offence to Rahul over his statement that Indian democracy was in danger. However, the sources said to ANI, the Congress MP stood by what he said about the state of Indian democracy in the present day.
The report stated that after a point, the government representatives asked Rahul to speak only on the subject despite being allowed to make his point very briefly.
“When Mr. Gandhi wanted to comment, he was allowed by the External Affairs Minister to briefly make his remark. But the moment Mr. Gandhi started making it into a long speech and give it political overtones, Mr. Jaishankar asked him to cut his speech short (sic),” another source told ANI, the agency quoted.
Foreign Affairs Minister Jaishankar also tweeted a photograph after the meeting and said, “Chaired the Parliamentary Consultative Committee for External Affairs on India’s G20 Presidency. Thank members for their active participation.”
Chaired the Parliamentary Consultative Committee for External Affairs on India’s G20 Presidency.
Thank members for their active participation. pic.twitter.com/3DW5HrR5zq
Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) March 18, 2023
The meeting was attended by EAM S Jaishankar, MoS MEA V Muraleedharan, Congress MPs Rahul Gandhi and Dr Shashi Tharoor, TMC was represented by Shatrughan Sinha, BJD by Sujeet Kumar, UBT MP Priyanka Chaturvedi and RJD MP Prem Chandra was also present. BJP MPs GVL Narasimha Rao, Dt Rajdeep Roy, Mahesh Jethmalani and Anil Firojia were among those who attended the meeting. Senior MEA officials were also present at the meeting.
Rahul Gandhi’s speech in London has been one of the core reasons for the ruckus that hindered the working of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha during the ongoing second leg of the Budget session this week. The other is the demand for a Joint Parliamentary Probe (JPC) on the Adani-Hindenburg issue.