Rahul Gandhi compares Modi with Ravana

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses a public meeting on the occasion of International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (World Tribal Day), at Mangarh Dham, in Banswara on 9 August, 2023ANI

In a no-holds-barred attack on the Centre over its handling of the Manipur situation, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday likened Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ‘Ravan’, claiming that just as the hydra-headed demon king in the epic Ramayana listened only to “Meghnad’ and Kumbhakarna”, PM Modi listens only to Union Home Minister Amit Shah and industrialist Gautam Adani.

Addressing the Lok Sabha during the debate on the Opposition’s no-trust motion against the Centre, on Wednesday, Rahul said, “Ravan used to listen only to Meghnad and Kumbhakarna. Similarly, Modi-ji listens only to Amit Shah and (Gautam) Adani.”

Further lashing out at the Centre over its alleged failure to rein in the violence in Manipur, the Congress leader said, “They killed Bharat Mata in Manipur”.

Saying that it wasn’t Lord Ram but Ravan’s arrogance that eventually killed him, the Congress leader added, “It wasn’t Lord Hanuman who burned down Lanka (Ravan’s kingdom), it was Ravan’s arrogance that did it. Similarly, it wasn’t Lord Ram but Ravan’s arrogance that eventually killed him. You (BJP) are pouring fuel across the country. You poured kerosene in Manipur and then lit a fire. You are doing the same now in Haryana and across the country. You are killing Bharat Maata everywhere in the country).”

The Congress leader also alleged that BJP “murdered India in Manipur” and were “traitors not patriots”.

Rahul Gandhi, who was the first speaker as the no-confidence debate resumed on Wednesday in the House, also attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over ethnic violence in Manipur.

Referring to BJP which is in power both at the Centre and in Manipur, he said, “you killed Bharat Mata in Manipur”.

The Congress leader referred to his visit to Manipur and his meetings with victims of violence in the state and said ‘Bharat’ is the voice of the people of the country and that “voice was killed in Manipur”.

“You killed India by killing the people of Manipur. You are a traitor, you are not a patriot,” Rahul Gandhi said.

“They killed India in Manipur. Not just Manipur but they killed India. Their politics has not killed Manipur, but it has killed India in Manipur. They have murdered India in Manipur,” he added.

Rahul Gandhi said the Prime Minister has not visited the northeastern state since it witnessed violence.

“A few days back, I went to Manipur. Our PM didn’t go, not even to this day, because for him Manipur is not India,” Gandhi alleged.

Speaker Om Birla said that the members should show respect while using the expression ‘Bharat Mata’.

It was the first speech of Rahul Gandhi since his reinstatement as a member of the House after his disqualification following his conviction by a Gujarat court in a defamation case.

Gandhi also took potshots at the government over Congress allegations concerning the Adani-Hindenburg row.

“Speaker Sir, first of all, I would like to thank you for reinstating me as an MP of the Lok Sabha. When I spoke the last time, perhaps I caused you trouble because I focussed on Adani - maybe your senior leader was pained...That pain might have had an impact on you as well. I apologise to you for that. But I spoke the truth. Today, my friends in BJP need not be scared because my speech today is not on Adani...” Gandhi said.

The Supreme Court last week stayed Rahul Gandhi’s conviction in the criminal defamation case over Modi’s surname remark. He was reinstated as a member of Lok Sabha on Monday.

The Lok Sabha took up a debate on a no-confidence motion against the government on Tuesday.