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Rahul attends meeting of Parliament panel on external affairs, denies anti-India remarks

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Rahul Gandhi and BJP lawmakers have sparred in a Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting over his ‘democracy in danger remarks’ with the top Congress leader making it clear that he did not seek intervention by any foreign country in internal matters, as he rejected allegations that he insulted the country abroad.

The war of words took place at a meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee on External Affairs to discuss India’s G-20 presidency on Saturday after a senior BJP MP indirectly referred to Rahul’s remarks without taking his name.

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The BJP MP told the meeting that some leaders were trying to damage the image of the country through their remarks abroad but one should remember that the biggest blot on Indian democracy was the Emergency imposed in 1975, sources said.

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The lawmaker is also learnt to have said that the Hindenburg report on Adani Group, comments by billionaire George Soros and the BBC documentary on Gujarat riots were all motivated attempts to malign the image of India.

Rahul, who did not speak after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar made a presentation on G-20 presidency, later intervened and said that he has not made any “anti-India” comments as projected by his opponents inside and outside Parliament. He said he never sought intervention by any country in the internal matters and those saying so were distorting it, sources said.

He also said that the Hindenburg report was against an individual and not an attack on India. Rahul got support from an Opposition MP who said India is not a country that gets weakened by a documentary or random comments by any individual.

As Rahul continued, BJP MPs objected to him raising this issue in the meeting, which was called for another purpose. But Rahul and other Opposition MPs insisted that he had a right to talk about it as there was a reference to his remarks in London, which has now rocked Parliament leading to washing out of last week’s proceedings in its entirety.

Jaishankar then intervened and asked Rahul not to refer to the issue as he should raise it in Parliament. Rahul reiterated that he needed to intervene as his remarks were mentioned.

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, who attended the meeting, tweeted, “A good meeting today (Saturday) on India’s foreign policy objectives in the G-20 was somewhat marred by some members needlessly politicising the discussion. Rahul Gandhi robustly responded to them.”

On Thursday, Rahul said that the controversy over his remarks in London were a ‘tamasha’ by the BJP aimed at avoiding questions on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s relationship with industrialist Guatam Adani. (ENDS)

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