'Attack me...not freedom fighters,' says US Congressman Ro Khanna as late grandfather criticised for supporting Emergency : The Tribune India

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'Attack me...not freedom fighters,' says US Congressman Ro Khanna as late grandfather criticised for supporting Emergency

Last week, Khanna, a Democrat, termed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification from Lok Sabha as a ‘deep betrayal’ of Gandhian philosophy

'Attack me...not freedom fighters,' says US Congressman Ro Khanna as late grandfather criticised for supporting Emergency

US Congressman Ro Khanna. File



PTI

Washington, March 29

US Congressman Ro Khanna has come out in support of his late maternal grandfather Amarnath Vidyalankar, who drew flak on social media recently for supporting former prime minister Indira Gandhi during the Emergency, asserting, “Attack me. Don’t attack India’s freedom fighters.”

Last week, Khanna, a Democrat, termed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification from the Lok Sabha as a “deep betrayal” of Gandhian philosophy.

Gandhi, the former Congress president, was disqualified from the Lok Sabha last week, after a court in Surat in the state of Gujarat convicted him in a defamation case.

“The expulsion of Rahul Gandhi from parliament is a deep betrayal of Gandhian philosophy and India’s deepest values,” Khanna said in a recent tweet.

“This is not what my grandfather sacrificed years in jail for,” the 46-year-old Indian-American politician added.

After his post in support of Gandhi, Khanna was reminded on social media that his late grandfather Vidyalankar, a Gandhian, was a supporter of former prime minister Indira Gandhi during the time of Emergency.

“Though it seems as If Ro has forgotten that Amarnath Vidyalankar (his grandfather), an INC loyalist, was part of Indira Gandhi’s govt during the harsh period of emergency in India. He did not oppose the brutal atrocities on Indian masses during the Emergency,” according to a post by The Pamphlet on Twitter.

In response, Khanna tweeted: “It’s sad to see people maligning my grandfather who worked for Lala Lajpat Rai, was jailed in 31-32 and 41-45, and wrote two letters to Indira Gandhi opposing the Emergency, leaving parliament right after. Attack me. Don’t attack India’s freedom fighters. And facts matter.”

Describing Vidyalankar as “great son of the soil,” the All India Radio in its documentary celebrating “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsava” hailed him as a “social worker and freedom fighter” born in pre-partition Punjab.

Educated at an Arya Samaj educational institution, Vidyalankar devoted his life to the non-cooperation movement after he completed his education.

Khanna represents Silicon Valley in the US House of Representatives.

On Sunday, Khanna ruled out running for the vacant US Senate seat from California and extended his support to his fellow Democratic lawmaker Barbara Lee.

“I have concluded that, despite a lot of enthusiasm from Bernie folks, the best place, the most exciting place, action place for me to serve as a progressive in the House of Representatives, and I’m honoured to be co-chairing Barbara Lee’s campaign for the Senate and endorsing her today,” Khanna told CNN in an interview.

He is co-chairing the election campaign of Congresswoman Lee running for the Senate seat in California.


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