Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said the prevailing atmosphere of religious intolerance across the country was “manufactured” by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Talking to journalists outside the Rashtrapati Bhavan after handing over a memorandum to the President, Rahul Gandhi said, “A serving minister in the government calls two little children, who have been burnt to death “dogs”. This is not the type of minister that should be in the cabinet.”
When told that Prime Minister Narendra Modi the Congress should be the last party to preach his government and party “tolerance”, Rahul Gandhi said: “People have been lynched and been killed, and the Prime Minister is silent. He doesn’t believe that it is necessary for him to say a word.”
Stating that a large number of people have made it clear that they were unhappy with the way the government views the country, he said the President had said it; the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor had said it; people have given up their prizes, but Finance Minister Arun Jaitley believed that nothing was going on in the country, and everything was fine.
“The heart of the problem is that they believe in an ideology, which is simply not tolerant. It doesn’t believe in listening to other people. It doesn’t believe in respecting other’s point of view. That is what India and all of us experiencing,” said Rahul Gandhi.
“It is not a matter of the Congress Party, but of every single Indian. We are proud people, we like the ability to be able to say what we want, we like the ability to be able to believe what we want, but the Prime Minister doesn’t like that,” he added.
Earlier, Congress president Sonia Gandhi led a march of her party leaders to the Rashtrapati Bhavan from the Parliament House to register their protest over rising intolerance and communal incidents.
They submitted a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee conveying grave concern at what the party called growing atmosphere of fear, intolerance and intimidation being deliberately created by sections of ruling establishment.
Talking to reporters after meeting the President, Sonia Gandhi alleged that sinister campaign was being unleashed to create social and communal tension. She said intolerance is being encouraged. She alleged the incidents taking place are part of the well-thought out strategy of the BJP to divide the society. She also questioned silence of the Prime Minister over the situation.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, senior party leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Ghulab Nabi Azad, A K Antony, Jairam Ramesh and members of the Congress Working Committee, AICC General Secretaries and office-bearers and party MPs were part of the delegation.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar described the Congress’s protest as a political stunt.
BJP says the Congress March is a result of desperation over the reported misdeeds of Robert Vadra in land deals. The party quoted a private TV channel report, which claimed that Vadra bought land in Bikaner at Rs79 lakh in 2010 and in a short-span, sold it to a fictitious company for over Rs 5 crore in 2011.
Holding a press conference, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said the march was being held out of frustration due to “revelation against Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law.
Replying to a question why BJP is not taking action against Vadra in land deal irregularities in party ruled states of Haryana and Rajasthan, Patra said his party’s governments do not indulge in vendetta politics and law will take its own course.
Another party leader GVL Narasimha Rao alleged that the deal involves money laundering and Congress should divulge the details of this possible corruption case.