Sunday, June 16, 2024

Rahul has DNA of freedom fighters; criticising govt doesn’t mean insulting India: Sam Pitorda

Indian Overseas Congress Chairman Sam Pitroda said on Friday that BJP is spreading lies about Rahul Gandhi, who is a dedicated Indian and has the “DNA of freedom fighters and people who sacrificed their lives for the country”.

The BJP had targeted former Congress President Rahul Gandhi for keeping the details of his meetings abroad secret and accused him of being an agent of the ‘other’ country.

Pitroda said that Rahul Gandhi is not going abroad to “complain” because he has said that “Indian democracy is for larger global public good” and “India cannot be insulted” if anyone criticises the government.

“Rahul Gandhi is not an agent of any country. He is a dedicated Indian who has the DNA of freedom fighters and people who believed in the idea of India. You (BJP) are calling him an agent? You got to be stupid,” Pitroda said during an interview with IANS.

Pitroda said that Rahul Gandhi is not going aborad to complain, because, as he has said and I totally agree with him, Indian democracy is for larger global public good.

“We are the largest democracy in the world. And it is our moral responsibility to talk to other countries. The other countries need to be democratic, still we respect them for what they are. We believe in freedom, liberty, justice, inclusion. One doesn’t have to agree, but we believe that certain things are going through stress in India and we want to spread that message and there is nothing wrong in it,” he said.

“Criticising the government is different from criticising India, but these (BJP) guys get confused and say that we are criticising India. No, India cannot be criticised. India is too big, it cannot be insulted by anybody. India has a long history, special heritage, it cannot be insulted by anybody,” he said.

He added that an opposition leader can criticise the government which is perfectly normal and should be acceptable, adding that one should pay attention to criticisms instead attacking the critique.

Pitorda also said that during Rahul Gandhi’s recent six-day visit to the US, he met with 15 professors at Stanford University, who all specialise in studying democracy.

“These people have written books on democracy and it’s always good to have a conversation with them. We learnt from them, they also learnt from our side,” the Congress leader said.

Taking a swipe at the BJP for not holding a conversation, Pitroda said: “If the BJP does not want to have a conversation, it’s their privilege. When Rahul Gandhi came to the US, he addressed the National Press Club before 100 journalists from all over the world. I wish the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) does that. That is what the Prime Minister should do rather than asking questions. That is democracy, and that’s what we are pushing for.”

He said the Congress wants a system that is “open, transparent, accountable”, and not personal attacks based on lies.

The technocrat, who had earlier worked with former Prime Minister late Rajiv Gandhi, ex-Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, also opened up on the duel between Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot, saying that such fights don’t help the party or the government, and it must be resolved at the earliest.

Pitroda said: “Such fights don’t help anybody. It doesn’t help the Chief Minister or his former deputy. It doesn’t help the party, nor does it help the state. These things must be resolved in a manner which is democratic.

“Everyone’s time will come. You don’t have to be in a hurry… Everybody wants to be the Prime Minister, of the Chief Minister. Everybody wants to be head of something, but it doesn’t work that way. Sometimes you have to let it go. That doesn’t mean you have lost power. Power comes from moral authority and not from your position, but people don’t always understand that.

“They need to resolve this… I urge them and request them to resolve this at the earliest.”

When asked about the delay in reshuffling of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party’s highest decision making body, Pitroda said: “I think the party is aware of the challenges. The party was waiting for the Karnataka elections. Now that the elections are over, hopefully the CWC issue will be addressed in the next few weeks.”

He also said that elections are scheduled in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Rajasthan, which will be the priority for the party.

“The 2024 Lok Sabha elections are also nearing, and it will get the attention it deserves. I think in the next couple of weeks, or maybe a month, a clear picture will emerge,” he said.

Pitroda has been instrumental in organising the programmes of Rahul Gandhi abroad.

Earlier this year, Rahul Gandhi had visited the UK before going to the US for six days. During his visits, he met several eminent personalities and also addressed multiple events.

(Anand Singh can be contacted at anand.s@ians.in)

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