New Delhi, July 25
The Congress hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday over his remarks targeting the opposition alliance, with Rahul Gandhi saying "call us whatever you want" but "we are INDIA" and will rebuild the idea of India in Manipur.
Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said while "we are talking about Manipur, which is burning", the prime minister is "talking about East India (Company) and saying INDIA means East India (Company)".
.@narendramodi जी,— Mallikarjun Kharge (@kharge) July 25, 2023
आपको North East पर Act EAST Policy नहीं दिख रही, पर आपको EAST India Company दिख रही है !
इस INDIA ने ही अंग्रेज़ों की East India Company को हराया था।
इस INDIA ने ही Indian Mujahideen को भी हराया था।
आप मणिपुर में हो रही बर्बरता व भयावह हिंसा पर संसद में कब… pic.twitter.com/BKN9IlsMZ4
Later, in a tweet in Hindi, Kharge said, "While we are talking about Manipur, the prime minister, outside the House, is calling 'INDIA' as 'East India Company'. The Congress party has always been with 'Mother India' i.e. 'Bharat Mata'." "The slaves of the British were the political ancestors of the BJP. Prime Minister Modi, stop diverting the attention of the country with your rhetoric. Narendra Modiji, speak about Manipur in Parliament, do not belittle the dignity of the post of prime minister by calling INDIA, that is Bharat, good or bad," the Congress president tweeted.
Modi slammed the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) as the most directionless the country has ever seen and cited reviled names, such as East India Company and Indian Mujahideen, to assert that people cannot be misled merely by the use of the country's name.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said the prime minister told a BJP Parliamentary Party meeting that the conduct of the opposition has been such that as if it has decided to stay in the opposition for long.
Hitting back at Modi, Gandhi tweeted: "Call us whatever you want, Mr Modi. We are INDIA. We will help heal Manipur and wipe the tears of every woman and child. We will bring back love and peace for all her people." "We will rebuild the idea of India in Manipur," the former Congress chief said.
Call us whatever you want, Mr. Modi.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 25, 2023
We are INDIA.
We will help heal Manipur and wipe the tears of every woman and child. We will bring back love and peace for all her people.
We will rebuild the idea of India in Manipur.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh claimed that it is clear that the prime minister is "very rattled by the 26-party INDIA".
It’s clear that the PM is very rattled by the 26-party INDIA. Not only is he trying to give new life to the almost-dead NDA but has also given it a new meaning through his vile abuses this morning—the National Defamation Alliance.— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) July 25, 2023
When he is cornered, this is what Mr. Modi does…
"Not only is he trying to give new life to the almost-dead NDA but has also given it a new meaning through his vile abuses this morning -- the National Defamation Alliance. When he is cornered, this is what Mr Modi does all the time -- deny, divert, distort, deflect and defame," Ramesh said in a tweet.
Slamming Modi, the Congress's media and publicity department head Pawan Khera said in a tweet in Hindi: "Modiji, you have become so blind in opposing the Congress that you have started hating India itself. I heard that today in frustration you attacked India itself."
Article 1͟.͟ ͟(͟1͟)͟ ͟I͟n͟d͟i͟a͟,͟ ͟t͟h͟a͟t͟ ͟i͟s͟ ͟B͟h͟a͟r͟a͟t͟,͟ ͟s͟h͟a͟l͟l͟ ͟b͟e͟ ͟a͟ ͟U͟n͟i͟o͟n͟ ͟o͟f͟ ͟S͟t͟a͟t͟e͟s͟.͟— Pawan Khera 🇮🇳 (@Pawankhera) July 25, 2023
साहिब का नाम गलती से भी कोई ग़लत बोल दे तो पुलिस भेज देते हैं और ख़ुद India, that is भारत का सरेआम मज़ाक़ उड़ा रहे हैं। https://t.co/Mx8plV61bJ
Tagging Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Ravi Shankar Prasad's remarks elaborating on what the prime minister said at the BJP Parliamentary Party meet, Khera said, "Article 1 -- India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of states." Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate also attacked Modi for his remarks, saying while cursing the opposition, the prime minister "has started calling India good or bad?" "One thing is clear -- you give instructions to your cheap troll army. The opposition is not misguided -- you are a victim of moral bankruptcy. Stop paying lip service, gather courage and speak on Manipur," Shrinate said in a tweet in Hindi.
With opposition parties rallying around the name "INDIA" for their alliance, the prime minister, at the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting, cited the history of several organisations, including certain banned extremist and terror outfits, using the country's name and panned the grouping as a collection of corrupt leaders and parties.
Even the Indian National Congress, the main opposition party, was named so by an Englishman, A O Hume, Modi said, according to sources.
Organisations that wanted to rule and divide the country have used names like "India" and "Indian" to mislead people, Modi added. People have now matured and will not be misled by such nomenclature, he asserted.
With the BJP accusing opposition parties of disrupting parliamentary proceedings, Modi said they have become more irresponsible, making it imperative for the ruling party to behave more responsibly.
The opposition has been demanding that Modi make a statement on the Manipur issue in Parliament before a debate on the matter can be taken up. With both the opposition and the treasury bench members not relenting, a logjam is prevailing in both houses.
More than 160 people have lost their lives and several have been injured since ethnic violence broke out in Manipur on May 3, when a "Tribal Solidarity March" was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur's population and live mostly in the Imphal valley, while tribals, including Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mostly in the hill districts.
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