Tribune News Service
New Delhi, March 18
The Ministry of External Affairs parliamentary consultative committee meeting on India’s G 20 presidency veered into a Rahul Gandhi-BJP face off on Saturday after MPs of the ruling party questioned the former’s remarks made in London about Indian democracy without naming him.
Gandhi defended his controversial remarks saying he had “not asked for the intervention of any foreign country on the matter.”
Gandhi said “Indian democracy is under attack and that is evident.”
The Congress MP also mentioned ED raids asking whether or not “ED was targeting the opposition.”
The Congress MP is also learnt to have said “the Hindenburg report was not an attack on India, it was against one industrialist Gautam Adani and his financial dealings.”
“Adani is not India,” sources quoted Gandhi as saying.
Earlier in the meeting where the floor was opened for all MPs after foreign secretary’s G 20 presentation, BJP MP GVL Narasimha Rao said concerted efforts were underway to destabilise India’s “historic” G 20 presidency.
Rao said the “Hindenburg report, the remarks of George Soros and the BBC documentary were all motivated attempts to undermine India’s moment.”
Rao also, without naming Gandhi, said “some people have spoken….but the fact is the biggest blot on Indian democracy was the Emergency.”
Uddhav Thackeray Sena’s MP Priyanka Chaturvedi sought to argue that if India is a confident nation and “mother of democracy, it should not be a sensitive democracy which will get weakened by random comments by individuals or by a BBC documentary.”
With external affairs minister S Jaishankar in the chair, Gandhi sought to respond to accusations by BJP leaders, triggering a fracas between the two sides which eventually ended with Jaishankar saying to Gandhi to refrain from making political comments at the meeting and stick to G 20 agenda.
Gandhi however argued that he needed to respond as others had spoken on issues beyond the G 20 agenda.
Interestingly Gandhi said nothing when asked to comment after the G 20 presentation and came in only after other MPs including BJP MPs had made their points including a veiled attack on him.
Jaishankar is learnt to have repeatedly urged Gandhi to make his points in Parliament and eventually told him, “I don’t agree with you”, with Gandhi saying to the minister, “That’s okay.”
Nominated BJP MP Mahesh Jethmalani at this point is learnt to have told Gandhi not to bring his “personal issue to the G 20 meeting.”
Congress’ Shashi Tharoor admitted the meeting was marred by political slugfest.
“A good meeting today on India’s foreign policy objectives in the G-20 was somewhat marred by some members needlessly politicising the discussion. Rahul Gandhi robustly responded to them,” Tharoor said.
Also in the meeting was AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP from Punjab, Vikramjit Sahney. It is learnt that most MPs sought ten G 20 groups to be broad based with members from other political parties besides the BJP.
Jaishankar said the G 20 events had been planned in states across the country.
Parliament has remained paralysed for a week with the BJP seeking Gandhis apology over “London remarks on Indian democracy.”
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