LS adjourned after ruckus over Rahul’s ‘danda’ remarks
KOKRAJHAR/ NEW DELHI: (Assam): Nearly a week after signing of the historic Bodo agreement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Kokrajhar in Assam on Friday to participate in the celebrations to mark the signing of the agreement. Posters welcoming Prime Minister Modi to the event to celebrate the signing of the Bodo Agreement have been put up.
Lok Sabha on Friday witnessed uproarious scenes and the proceedings were adjourned for nearly an hour after Union Minister and BJP leader Harsh Vardhan demanded an apology from Congress party over objectionable remarks made by its MP Rahul Gandhi against Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently.
For the second time in two days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s “beating him with danda (stick)” comment, this time before a huge gathering in Assam to celebrate the historic Bodo accord.
Yesterday, he had referred to the comment – made by the Congress MP at a Delhi election rally – in parliament while replying to a debate. In what appeared to be coordinated strategy, the ruling BJP attacked Rahul Gandhi in the Lok Sabha, demonstrating the party’s resolve to embarrass the Congress on what appears to be a self-goal by its former president.
PM Modi, at an event in Assam’s Kokrajhar, said: “Mothers and sisters have come to bless me in such huge numbers. Sometimes people talk of beating me with sticks. This Modi, who is protected by blessings of so many mothers and sisters, no stick can harm him.”
Rahul Gandhi had made the comments at an election rally in Delhi. “The way Narendra Modi is making speeches, in six months he will not be able to leave his house. The youth of India will beat him with dandas (sticks), and show him that this country cannot move ahead with giving jobs to the youth,” the MP had said on Wednesday.
The PM referred to it in parliament and made light of the comment. “I heard that one leader said we will beat Modi with a stick in six months. Even I will prepare in these six months and do more surya namaskars so that I am ready…the kind of abuses I have been subjected to in the past 20 years, I will make myself gaali-proof (abuse-proof) and also danda-proof (stick-proof),” the Prime Minister said.
PM Modi was not in parliament today but the BJP did not intend to let Mr Gandhi’s comment go so easily. As Rahul Gandhi asked a listed question, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan responded with a statement condemning his “danda” comment.
“His father was prime minister too. I don’t think in the worst case our party leaders have ever made such outlandish personal remarks threatening to beat with dandas (sticks) and throwing out of the country,” Harsha Vardhan said, urging the house to condemn the comments.
As Congress MPs protested around the Speaker’s chair, one of them, Manickam Tagore, walked to the government benches and shouted at the minister to stop. Several BJP MPs were seen holding him as if to prevent a physical scuffle. The Congress said its MP was pushed, he never tried to attack the minister.
The row over the “danda” remarks has broken out just before voting for the Delhi election, which has become a prestige battle for the BJP as it tries to return to power and defeat the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Rahul Gandhi’s remarks, say sources, could not have come at a better time, with the “danda” statement coming off as an egregious attack on the country’s prime minister. For the Congress, it is reminiscent of the “Chowkidar Chor Hai” campaign ahead of the 2019 national election that PM Modi successfully converted into a “Main Bhi Chowkidar” campaign in his support. Once again, the party has been stumped by PM Modi’s ability to use criticism to convey a message of personal targeting.
(With inputs from Guwahati Bureau).