Indian National Congress president Rahul Gandhi concluded a lively tour of Germany and the UK, with his latest remarks in London stirring up controversies back in India and aggressive protests from Sikh extremists.
While addressing a gathering at the Indian Overseas Congress in London, the Congress chief said that under BJP's rule, the country's judiciary, the Election Commission and also the Reserve Bank of India, have been “torn apart”. He also mounted an attack on Prime Minister Modi and accused him of insulting Indians by saying that there was no development in the country before 2014.
He also highlighted the rich history of India’s oldest political party, pointing out that NRIs were deeply involved in its formation.
"Our party was set up by NRIs. Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel were all NRIs. They all went out into the world and brought their new way of thinking to help their country. You are following those footsteps,” he said.
“India shows the future to the world. The people of India made this possible and the Congress helped them. If the prime minister says nothing had happened before he assumed office, he is not commenting on the Congress, he is insulting every person of the country,” Gandhi said.
Gandhi, in his address in Hindi, reiterated many of the messages from his previous interactions in London, describing the Congress party as a force to fight against hatred and divisions and called on the diaspora to get behind it in the run up to the 2019 general election as "foot soldiers" of the party.
He also took a dig at the Ambanis, who are perceived to be close to the BJP.
“Today in India, people are discriminated against on the basis of caste and religion. Marginalised are betrayed, while the people like Anil Ambani benefit,” Gandhi said.
“Nobody will get anything. Only Ambani will get everything. This man has accrued a debt of INR45,000 crore (SGD9 billion),” the Congress president alleged.
Facing allegations of receiving kickbacks from the multi-billion dollar Rafale deal, Ambani-led Reliance Group issued legal notices to many Congress leaders to stop them from making such statements.
Ambani had also written to Gandhi and had said that the Congress party has been “misinformed, misdirected and misled” by “malicious vested interests and corporate rivals” on the issue.
“I do not use bad language for the prime minister. And if you have listened to the debate on the Rafale deal in Parliament, you would have seen that the PM could not answer my questions,” the 48 -year-old leader said.
Evoking the press-conference of the Supreme Court judges in January, he said, “It was the first time that four senior-most judges of the apex court come out in public earlier this year to say they were not being allowed to work”.
He added that institutions such as the Supreme Court, the Election Commission— of India and the Reserve Bank of India, which are “the walls” of the country are being torn apart.
Earlier in the evening, three pro-Khalistan supporters entered the venue of the Indian Overseas Congress UK Mega Conference for the Indian Diaspora in Ruislip in West London where Congress president Rahul Gandhi was to address his last public meeting and tried to disrupt it but were escorted out by Scotland Yard before his arrival.
The group of three Khalistani activists managed to enter the event and started shouting “Khalistan Zindabad” when Scotland Yard officers tried to escort them out of the venue before the Opposition leader had arrived for his final engagement at the end of a two-day visit to the UK.
In his opening address, chairman of the Overseas Congress Department of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), Sam Pitroda said: "Our message is all about democracy, freedom, inclusion, diversity, jobs, growth, prosperity, bottom-up development. We want you (Diaspora) to spread that message. The results of 2019 (elections) will define India of the future."