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Talking heads take apart his speeches, many feel RSS, Muslim Brotherhood comparison unjustified and Congress only driven by political ambition, not governance motive

This is strike two by Congress president Rahul Gandhi in very recent times.

In a public engagement at the well-known London think tank International Institute of Strategic Studies, the 48-year-old compared RSS in India with the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world and accused it of trying to destroy the modern idea of India. “Institutions are being torn down one by one,” he said.

A couple of days earlier, in Germany, he said that lynchings in India were a result of joblessness due to demonetisation and GST and that exclusion led to the growth of the Islamic State.

His remarks have been criticised by the ruling BJP which says they belittled India.

Saturday’s edition of Mudda took up the topic of Rahul’s speeches and debated whether he had ignored the rules of decorum by making them outside India. Speakers were BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay, RSS man Chandraprakash Agnihotri, Congress leader Omkarnath Singh, JD(U) leader Saiyyad Afrazul Abbas, NCP leader Rina Mukherji, and senior journalist Govind Pant Raju. Akshay Singh Gaur anchored the debate.

Rahul Gandhi should not have gone abroad to air his views. Isn’t parliament a large enough platform for him to do that, Abbas asked.

“If Rahul speaks inside the country, the media does not give him due attention. This is why he has been speaking outside the country. But he should not do this for publicity only. A comparison between RSS and Muslim Brotherhood is uncalled-for,” said raju.

The Congress has neither a vision nor a mission. They are least interested in solving problems like unemployment. If unemployment is connected to terrorism, how is it that all terrorist attacks in India took place before 2014? Especially as he says unemployment is on the rise under BJP rule, mused Upadhyay.

“Since you accuse the Congress of orchestrating the 1984 riots, why didn’t you punish Sajjan Kumar, Kamal Nath and Jagdish Tytler yourselves, since you say they are connected with them? Also, there is a difference between riots and lynchings,” said Singh.

Agnihotri felt that Rahul’s allegation that RSS is a terrorist organisation is baseless. “It was formed in 1925 by Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar. Since that moment till date, there has been no incident connecting it with terrorism. Rahul is making these statements only for political mileage,” he said.

Mukherjee backed Rahul’s statements.  “Has RSS done anything to prove otherwise? Even the other day, Vaibhav Raut was arrested from Nalasopara in Maharshtra with bombs. He is a member of Sanatan Sanstha which has close links with RSS. I can cite many other such examples,” she said.

Upadhyay said Rahul’s words should not be taken at face value. “The Congress has been complaining of malfunctioning EVMs but when they win an election, they are not seen making a sound against these machines. They are a completely self-serving party.” He said by washing dirty linen abroad, Rahul had proved himself to be an “international Pappu”.

Gaur concluded that indeed Rahul had crossed a line by choosing to go public with these views during his foreign tour.

—Compiled by Sucheta Dasgupta

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