The Parliament witnessed a major uproar by government benches on Tuesday as members of the Bharatiya Janata Party demanded an apology from Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge over his remarks at a rally organised as part of Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ in Rajasthan’s Alwar last evening.
Addressing the rally, Kharge had come down hard on the BJP for labelling the Congress as ‘deshdrohis’ (traitors) and claimed that unlike the ruling party, several Congress leaders had laid down their lives for the country.
“We gave freedom to the country. Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi sacrificed their lives for the unity of the country. Our party leaders gave their lives. What sacrifice did you make? Has even a dog died in your house for the country? Has anyone made any sacrifice? No,” Kharge said.
The ‘dog’ reference has riled the BJP which has come out all guns blazing against the Congress president. Addressing the Upper House on Tuesday, Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha, Piyush Goyal condemned the language used by Kharge and said he should apologise for attempting to “present lies before nation”.
“Yesterday, LoP Mallikarjun Kharge gave an indecent speech in Alwar. The language used is unfortunate. I condemn the manner in which he used indecent language, said baseless things and attempted to present lies before the nation. I demand an apology from him,” Goyal said.
“He (Mallikarjun Kharge) should apologise to the BJP, the Parliament and the people of this country who brought the BJP to power in government with an absolute majority. He (Kharge) gave us a glimpse of his mindset and jealousy,” the Union minister added.
The minister further said that Kharge was a living example of what Mahatma Gandhi had predicted about the Congress. “After independence, Mahatma Gandhi said that Congress should be disbanded. Kharge ji is a living example of that and is showing the nation that what Gandhi ji said was true. He’s a national president who doesn’t know to speak. Unless he apologises, he has no right to be here,” Goyal said in Rajya Sabha today.
Goyal’s cabinet colleague Kiren Rijiju backed the demand and said Kharge should understand his responsibilities as a leader of a political party.
“I can’t believe that Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge could stoop so low and use such objectionable remarks. He should understand his responsibilities as a leader of a political party. We’re not enemies, we’re rivals. It’s distasteful, unfortunate and uncalled for,” Rijiju said.
An adamant Kharge, however, refused to buckle under pressure and said: “Those who fought for the country’s independence – you are asking them to apologise?”