Addressing Indian Americans in Santa Clara in the US, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday morning described Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday as a “specimen” who thinks he knows more than God, prompting the BJP to criticise him as a “fake Gandhi” who “insults” India on foreign soil in his effort to target Modi.
Rahul Gandhi is on a six-day tour of the US “to consolidate support for the Congress”, where he plans to meet a cross-section of people. In his address at Santa Clara, Gandhi said universal basic income, or Nyay scheme his party proposed in 2019, an increase in allocations for public education and public health, and the rural guarantee scheme are some ways to make India a much more equal and fair place. However, his comments on the PM riled the BJP.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur claimed Gandhi went abroad on
“sponsored programmes” for “anti-India propaganda” to insult India, the country’s national anthem and flag on foreign soil. To another of Gandhi's comments, where he drew a parallel between the alleged targeting of Muslims in India with what he said used to happen to Dalits in Uttar Pradesh in the 1980s, Thakur said Gandhi conceded that the Congress government of the time, as it was the ruling party at the Centre and in UP, perpetrated atrocities on Dalits and minorities.
Addressing Indian Americans at the ‘Mohabbat ki Dukan’ event organised by the Indian Overseas Congress, Gandhi said there was a “disease” with some people in India who are “absolutely convinced that they know everything and can explain history to historians, science to scientists and warfare to the army”.
“They think they know even more than God… They can sit with God and explain to him what’s going on. And, of course, our prime minister is one such specimen. If you saw Modiji sitting with God, he will explain to God how the universe works and God will get confused about what I have created,” he said, evoking laughter from the audience.
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To a question about attacks on Muslims in India, Gandhi said the attacks are felt more strongly by the Muslim community because it is done most directly to them. But, he said, it is being done to all minorities, such as Sikhs, Christians, Dalits, tribals, and all the poor in India, who look at the extreme wealth that a limited number of people have. “In some way, he feels the same thing that you feel about what is going on. How is it that these five people have lakhs of crores, and I have nothing to eat?”
On the Sengol row, the Congress leader said Modi and his government could not address unemployment and price rise. “The new Parliament building is a distraction. The BJP can’t really discuss these issues, so they have to do the sceptre thing. Lying down and doing all that. Aren’t you happy that I'm not lying down?” Gandhi said.