The BJP on Thursday seized on Congress leader Digvijay Singh’s thanks to Germany for reacting to Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification from Lok Sabha to accuse the opposition party of “inviting foreign powers for interference into India’s internal matters”, and termed him and his party “disgrace to nation”.
Senior BJP leaders, including Union ministers Anurag Thakur and Kiren Rijiju, slammed the German reaction, asserting that India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership will not tolerate any foreign intervention.
Their attack came after Congress leader Singh thanked the German foreign ministry and Richard Walker, Chief International Editor of Deutsche Welle, for “taking note of how Democracy is being compromised in India through the persecution of Rahul Gandhi”.
Singh tagged a tweet by Walker in which the senior journalist had posted a video of a German foreign ministry spokesperson reacting to Gandhi’s disqualification.
At a press briefing, Germany’s foreign ministry spokesperson said, “We have taken note of the verdict of first instance against Indian opposition politician Rahul Gandhi as well as the suspension of his parliamentary mandate.” Germany expects that “standards of judicial independence and fundamental democratic principles” will equally apply to the proceedings against Rahul Gandhi, the spokesperson added.
A host of BJP leaders attacked the Congress and Singh, accusing the party of “inviting foreign interference” in India’s internal affairs.
Sharing a screenshot of Digivijaya Singh’s tweet, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said, “Thank you Rahul Gandhi for inviting foreign powers for interference into India’s internal matters.” “Remember, Indian Judiciary can’t be influenced by foreign interference. India won’t tolerate ‘foreign influence’ anymore because our Prime Minister is:- Shri @narendramodi Ji,” Rijiju said.
Attacking the Congress over Singh’s tweet, Information and Broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur said, “disgrace to nation, @INCIndia & @RahulGandhi don’t believe to fight India’s democratic, political and legal battle within country, hence, invite foreign powers to interfere in our internal matter. But New India headed by @narendramodi Ji will not tolerate any foreign intervention.” Finance Minister Niramala Sitharaman also slammed the Congress over Singh’s tweet.
“Apparent that @INCIndia wants foreign interference in our affairs. Sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Communist Party of China with opaque contents. During interactions abroad, plead for help to change government. Thank them when help forthcoming. Any more proof needed?” she said.
Tagging Singh’s tweet, BJP’s foreign affairs department head leader Vijay Chauthaiwale said on Twitter, “Look how happy @digvijaya_28 ji with comments from Germany. It only shows how they are desperate to involve external agencies in domestic matters.” BJP’s IT department head Amit Malviya also tagged Singh’s tweet and said, “Shameful that Congress continues to lean on foreign agencies and seek their intervention in India’s internal affairs.” “Rahul Gandhi had recently sought Europe and US intervention and now it is Digvijay Singh. But Law is the Law… Unless somebody thinks Law is not the Law for them,” he said.
The BJP tweeted, “Let this be on record. For the first time in Independent India’s history, Congress leaders are pleading foreign powers to intervene in India’s democratic process and weigh in on our judicial decisions… It is a brazen attempt to undermine people’s will and India’s sovereignty.” Gandhi was disqualified from Lok Sabha on March 23 after a court in Gujarat’s Surat convicted him in a 2019 defamation case over his ‘Modi surname’ remark.
Earlier this week, a US state department official had said the United States is watching the court case of Rahul Gandhi. The official observed that the US continues to engage with India on the shared commitment towards democratic principles and the protection of human rights, including freedom of expression.
Speaking at a media event Thursday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said no foreign diplomat has raised with him the issue of Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification from the Lok Sabha, which was an outcome of a law “supported” by the Congress leader in the past.
“The legal process produced an outcome. The outcome triggered a law, which Rahul Gandhi had himself supported some years ago,” he said.