Amid a political storm over Rahul Gandhi’s “democracy under attack” remarks in the UK, Indian Overseas Congress chief Sam Pitroda today said the former party president never invited foreign countries for help and was being subjected to a “well-orchestrated” personal attack based on “lies and misinformation”.
Mr Gandhi’s remarks in the UK have rocked Parliament with both Houses of Parliament failing to transact any significant business during the first two days of the second half of the Budget Session. A battery of senior Union ministers have led the charge against Mr Gandhi, demanding an apology, while the Congress has countered it with its JPC probe demand on the Adani issue.
Mr Pitroda, who heads the Indian Overseas Congress and was present for Mr Gandhi’s interactions during his UK visit, mounted a strong defence of the comments in a series of tweets.
“Please, stop promoting and propagating lies about what Rahul Gandhi said in London. Were you there? Did you see the video? Do you really know what he said? In what context? What was the main message?” “For clarification please, note that Rahul Gandhi basically said the following: 1. Indian Democracy is Global Public Good. 2. The state of democracy in India is of concern. 3. It is an Indian problem, and we will deal with it,” Mr Pitroda said.
Mr Gandhi never invited any foreign countries to help, he asserted.
“I was there as an Indian professional with a logical, rational, and open mind, eyes, and ears,” said Mr Pitroda, who is credited for leading the country’s telecom revolution during Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure as prime minister.
“What is the sense in launching a well-orchestrated and well-organised personal attack based on lies and misinformation through elected leaders in collaboration with the media? Is this what Indian democracy is all about? Is there some decency left in political discourse?” he said.
Why are some people so agitated and have “ganged up in promoting lies”, and are attacking Rahul Gandhi all the time, Mr Pitroda asked.
There are more important things to do in India such as creating jobs, improving the economy, reducing violence, improving environment, education and health services, he said.
“Why is national TV media spending so much time, money, and energy on this? Why are they always quick to jump on Rahul Gandhi without checking their own facts ? What are they all trying to accomplish? Is this fair?” he said.
“I am simply astonished. I would expect a little better sense and response from Indian media… May I request that before responding to these tweets, please take a deep breath and think before saying anything? Be respectful, dignified, truthful, factual, responsible, and a little generous. We need love and not hate,” he said.
Mr Pitroda stressed that “we need understanding and not misunderstanding”.
“We must unite to take India forward for all the people – especially the poor, hungry, homeless, unemployed, and young,” he added.
During his recent visit to the UK, Mr Gandhi at various interactions alleged that the structures of Indian democracy are under attack and that there is a “full-scale assault” on the institutions of the country. Mr Gandhi had also told British parliamentarians in London that microphones were often “turned off” in Lok Sabha when any opposition member raises important issues.
Mr Gandhi’s remarks triggered a political slugfest with the BJP accusing him of maligning India on foreign soil and seeking foreign intervention, and the Congress hitting back by citing instances of Prime Minister Narendra Modi raking up internal politics abroad.