Image Source : SANSAD TV PM Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Lok Sabha LoP Rahul Gandhi

Parliament Session: Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Rahul Gandhi on Monday (July 1) addressed the House for the first time after being appointed to the post and took on the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre over a range of issues. He flashed the portrait of Lord Shiva in the House and targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the saffron party over ‘Hinduism’. He also spoke on other topics including NEET-UG paper leak, Agniveer and farmers, which also drew reactions from the treasury benches.

On ‘Hinduism’:

Rahul Gandhi pointed out towards the preaching of non-violence in every religion and said “those who call themselves Hindu only talk about violence”, triggering massive uproar from the treasury benches. At this point, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah objected to his remarks.

“Abhayamudra is the symbol of Congress…The Abhayamudra is the gesture of fearlessness, is the gesture of reassurance and safety, which dispels fear and accords divine protection and bliss in Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism and other Indian religions….All our great men have spoken about non-violence and finishing fear…But, those who call themselves Hindu only talk about violence, hatred, untruth…Aap Hindu ho hi nahi…,” Rahul Gandhi said.

PM Modi responds

Responding to Rahul Gandhi’s remarks, the Prime Minister stood on the floor of the House and said, “Calling the entire Hindu community violent is a very serious matter”.

To PM Modi’s objection, the LoP said that Narendra Modi, BJP and RSS do not represent the entire Hindu community and his remarks were directed towards them.

PM Modi said, “Democracy and the Constitution have taught me that I need to take the Leader of Opposition seriously”.

Amit Shah responded to Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Hindu’ remark and demanded an apology from the Congress leader.

“The Leader of Opposition has categorically said that those who call themselves Hindu talk of violence and do violence. He doesn’t know that crores of people proudly call themselves Hindu. Connecting violence with any religion is wrong. He should apologise,” he said.

On NEET:

Raising the issue of NEET-UG paper leak during his address, Rahul Gandhi said that the exam is designed to create a quota for rich people and designed not to help the poor students.

“NEET students spend years and years preparing for their exam. Their family supports them financially, and emotionally and the truth is that NEET students today do not believe in the exam because they are convinced that the exam is designed for rich people, not meritorious people. I have met several NEET students. Every single one of them tells me that the exam is designed to create a quota for rich people and to create a passage for them into the system and is designed not to help poor students,” he said.

On Agniveer:

The Congress leader also mentioned Agniveer recruitment scheme for armed forces and termed it a “use and throw labourer”.

“One Agniveer lost his life in a landmine blast but he is not called a ‘martyr’… ‘Agniveer’ is a use & throw labourer,” he said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh objected to Rahul’s claim and said that he should not try to mislead the House by making wrong statements.

“He  Rahul Gandhi) should not try to mislead the House by making wrong statements. Financial assistance of Rs one crore is given to the family of the Agniveer who sacrifices his life while protecting our borders or during war,” he said.

On cases by central agencies:

Rahul Gandhi alleged that there is a systematic attack on the Constitution and on the people who resisted the “attack” on the Constitution.

“There has been a systematic and a full-scale assault on the idea of India, the Constitution and on the people who resisted the attack on Constitution. Many of us were personally attacked. Some of the leaders are still in jail. Anyone who resisted the idea of concentration of power & wealth, aggression on poor & Dalits and minorities was crushed. ..I was attacked by the order of Govt of India, by the order of the Prime Minister of India…The most enjoyable part of it was the 55 hours of interrogation by ED…” he said.