Rahul Gandhi’s Speech in Lok Sabha and The Subsequent Controversy Explained.

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The first session of the 18th Lok Sabha began on 24 June 2024. President Draupadi Murmu administered oath to BJP legislator Bhartruhari Mahtab as the protem speaker. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took charge as the Leader of Opposition (LOP) in Lok Sabha. Veteran BJP leader Om Birla was elected the speaker for a consecutive second term on June 26. It is for the first time in 10 years that no party has an absolute majority in Lok Sabha. The parliament sessions were not void of controversies. During discussion on the NEET scam, Rahul Gandhi’s mic was allegedly switched off

The latest controversy emerged after Rahul Gandhi’s speech on the motion of thanks on the President’s Address. Prime Minister Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party alleged that Rahul Gandhi insulted the entire Hindu community. Whereas Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party defended his statement and said the criticism was not of any religion but of the BJP. In this explainer, we will understand the controversy and what happened in the house.

What Did Rahul Gandhi Say?

Rahul Gandhi’s speech in Lok Sabha on 1 July 2024, during the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address, caused a major uproar in the parliament. He was criticising the BJP government and alleged that the later has been systematically targeting the Constitution of India for the past 10 years.

The video can be seen on the official YouTube channel of Sansad TV. The video was uploaded on 1 July 2024. The caption of the video reads, “Rahul Gandhi’s Remarks | Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address in #18thloksabha”

As soon as Rahul Gandhi rose to start his speech, BJP members started chanting “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”, “Jai Samvidhan”, “Modi Modi” slogans interrupting Rahul Gandhi. Rahul Gandhi responded by saying “Jai Samvidhan”. Rahul Gandhi started his speech by saying “we have protected the constitution…the country together has protected the constitution and it’s nice to see the members of BJP also chanting “constitution” in every 2, 3 minutes”.

Rahul Gandhi said “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 and wealth, aggression on poor and Dalits and minorities was crushed. I was attacked by the order of Govt of India, by the order of the Prime Minister of India. 20+ cases, two-year jail sentence…The most enjoyable part of it was the 55 hours of interrogation by ED…”

Holding an image of Lord Shiva Rahul Gandhi said that Lord Shiva is a symbol of fearlessness, non-violence and truthfulness. Gandhi then spoke about Abhaymudra and said that this Abhaymudra shows the next step of the evolution of the idea of facing the truth, fearlessness and non-violence. He further added that all our religions talk about courage. He added that Islam, Sikhism, Christianity, and Jainism talk about being fearless and promote Abhayamudra.

Rahul Gandhi shows an image of Lord Shiva in Lok Sabha.

Rahul Gandhi continues, ” All the great men in every religion talk about non-violence (Ahimsa) and eradication of fear. Don’t fear and don’t scare! Lord Shiva says don’t fear and don’t scare by showing Abhaymudra (palm of the hand). He talks of Ahimsa and keeps his Trishul (trident) buried partially in the ground.  And those who call themselves Hindu, chant violence, hatred, and falsehood round the clock. You are not Hindu. The Hindu religion clearly mentions that one should always follow the truth. Our symbol is Abhay Mudra (Aur jo log apne aap ko Hindu kehte hai wo 24 ghanta hinsa hinsa hinsa, nafrat nafrat nafrat, asatya asatya  asatya. You are not a Hindu because in Hinduism, it is clearly stated that you must stand with the truth. You must not stand away from the truth and not fear the truth. The symbol of our non-violence is Abhaymudra. (Aap Hindu ho hi nahi. Hindu dharm mein saaf likha hai, Satya ke sath khada hona chahiye, Satya se pichhe nahi hatna chahiye, Satya se nahi darna chahiye, Ahinsa humara pratik hain, Abhay mudra)”. Saying this Rahul Gandhi showed his right hand and asked his party members to show the symbol. BJP members protested and sought an apology from Rahul Gandhi. To this Rahul Gandhi said that the shouting is because the arrow had struck the heart.

As soon as Rahul Gandhi made this statement, there was an uproar in the house. Prime Minister Narendra Modi stood up and said, “The issue is a serious one, to call the entire Hindu community violent is serious”. To which Rahul Gandhi replied, “Narendra Modi is not the entire Hindu community, the BJP is not the entire Hindu community, the RSS is not the entire Hindu community…The BJP has not taken any contract…All are Hindus here”.

Archived Link

Rahul Gandhi faced multiple interruptions, including two interventions from Prime Minister Modi and interjections from a few cabinet ministers. Home Minister Amit Shah demanded an apology from Gandhi.

A news report published in The Hindu can be read here. Archived Link.

Another report from The Indian Express can be read here. Archived Link.

Rahul Gandhi clarified that he was criticising PM Modi, BJP and RSS, not the entire Hindu community. Rahul Gandhi clarified that Narendra Modi, BJP and RSS do not represent the whole Hindu community. 

However, the BJP did not buy this clarification. Kerala BJP President K. Surendran alleged that Rahul Gandhi has indeed insulted the entire Hindu community. In an article by The Hindu, Surendran is quoted saying as follows: “Mr. Gandhi’s statement in Parliament against the Hindu community is not only an insult to the community but also highly provocative and baseless.”

Divyanshu Kishore, a Hindu outfit leader, filed a case against Rahul Gandhi in the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Court of Muzaffarpur, Bihar. The case has been filed under sections 299, 302, 356 (1) of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) of 2023. 

Rahul Gandhi got support from opposition leaders like Shivsena (UBT) supremo Uddhav Thackeray. Thackeray was quoted by ANI saying, “Tell me what wrong did he say? Where did he insult (Hinduism)?  He was not allowed to show the picture of Lord Shiva, is this Hindutva? We also raise slogans of Jai Shri Ram. The Prime Minister openly says Jai Shri Ram in election rallies. But if someone other than BJP says it in the Parliament, is it a crime? I do not believe that Rahul Gandhi insulted Hindutva yesterday. He said in clear words that BJP does not mean Hindutva. We are also Hindus and none of us will insult Hindutva and will not tolerate insult to Hindutva, and Rahul ji is also included in that. BJP does not mean Hindutva, our Hindutva is sacred…”.

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Title:Rahul Gandhi’s Speech in Lok Sabha and The Subsequent Controversy Explained.

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