NEW DELHI: The Congress said on Tuesday it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who “insulted” India on foreign soil, after the BJP accused Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi of belittling the Prime Minister in his speech at a US university.
“We are surprised at the criticism that is unwarranted and unjustified made by the government and ruling party. The statements and issues raised by Union Information and Broadcasting Minister (Smriti Irani) shows ignorance of history and her eagerness to be an apologist for the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi),” Congress leader Anand Sharma said on Tuesday.
“Rahul Gandhi spoke about India’s achievements in the last 70 years. We understand why BJP is criticising him. If Rahul Gandhi is criticising the Prime Minister of the country, no one should have any objection to that. It’s a feature of democracy,” he said.
Irani at a press conference on Tuesday morning criticised the Congress vice-president’s speech at the University of California, Berkeley, and said Rahul Gandhi chose to belittle the Prime Minister.
She also said Rahul Gandhi chose a “platform of convenience to berate his political opponents” after failing to connect with the people of India.
“It is the Prime Minister of India who is guilty of insulting India on international soil. The Prime Minister called the country corrupt on his first visit abroad and also said on another occasion that Indians used to feel ashamed to accept they are Indian on international soil,” Sharma said.
He said it was a part of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s intolerance towards criticism.
“It is the streak of intolerance towards criticism by BJP and the present government,” he said.
Rahul Gandhi in his speech at Berkeley attacked demonetisation, and said the decision that removed 86% of cash from circulation overnight and was carried out unilaterally without asking the Chief Economic Advisor, the Cabinet or even Parliament “imposed a devastating cost in India”. He also said 30,000 new people are joining the job market every single day and claimed that the government is only creating 500 jobs a day.