Hours after BJP chief Amit Shah escalated the attack on the grand old party over the JNU row, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday hit back at the Centre and said one has no right to play with the future of students if some people raised anti-national slogans in the campus.
Gandhi, was addressing a rally here, said there are around 8,000 students in JNU and about 1,000 of them are from the north-east.
“The BJP charged JNU students union president Kanhaiya on charges of sedition. I have heard Kanhaiya’s speech and he didn’t say anything wrong against the nation. If few people have raised anti-national slogans then catch them, but why you are playing with the future of the students,” he said.
The Congress vice-president also countered Prime Minister Modi’s criticism of the grand old party in the Lok Sabha, saying the latter’s one hour speech in Parliament failed to address the issue of taxation on EPF.
“In his one-hour speech yesterday, the Prime Minister made personal attacks on me, but didn’t answer my question. I had raised questions on JNU, Rohith Vemula, and ‘Make in India’ in Parliament. I didn’t ask anything wrong, but he failed to answer,” Gandhi said.
Gandhi alleged that the ruling dispensation at the Centre is working for five to six businessmen with least concerns for the country’s downtrodden and poor.
“Prime Minister Modi came here and said that he would do a lot of things. He did a lot of marketing, but the people got nothing,” he added.
Gandhi’s visit assumes significance as Assam votes in two phases on April 4 and 11 to elect a new government.
Earlier in the day, the BJP president lashed out at the Congress over the JNU row, saying it should be ‘ashamed’ of Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the campus.
Shah, who was addressing a meeting of BJP’s youth wing in Vrindavan, questioned whether ‘anti-national slogans’ can be called freedom of speech.
The BJP president said the JNU row was about the party’s core issue of nationalism and invoked its Ram Janmabhoomi campaign to buttress his point besides its role in Goa and Hyderabad liberation movement.