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Opposition conclave: Manish Tewari says Ravi Shankar Prasad's remarks reflect govt 'ignorance and arrogance'

New Delhi: The Congress on Thursday termed as "unfortunate and intemperate" the remarks of Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Rahul Gandhi and said it did not behove a minister to make obtuse personal comments.

Taking exception to Prasad's remarks against Gandhi, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said the Union minister was not even aware of the facts about his party's existence in 1980.

In a dig at Gandhi, Prasad said the Congress vice-president's observations were more of a "political cry" arising out of a deep sense of dismay as to why he and his party are being rejected by the people of the country.

File image of Congress leader Manish Tewari. PTI

File image of Congress leader Manish Tewari. PTI

"I have a question on the talk of composite heritage ('sanjhi virasat') which is going on today. RSS workers in Kerala's Kannur are being allegedly killed by CPM workers, which heritage is that?" Prasad asked.

"The organisers of composite heritage — Congress, Left and Sharad Yadav are sitting together, how do they consider the merciless killing of RSS workers in Kannur in Kerala by CPM workers and their goons. Is it part of the composite heritage of India? This is hypocrisy," he said.

Tewari said Prasad's remarks truly reflect the exquisite mixture of "ignorance and arrogance" which this government has come to characterise itself within its 38 months of being in power.

He asked the minister whether it was not true that the NDA government led by Atal Behari Vajpayee had formed a committee to suggest changes in the Constitution.

"Was that not an attempt to change the Constitution of India," he asked.

Tewari said the highest positions in the government, the Prime Minister's Office and the country's various institutions are occupied by people who owe their allegiance to the RSS and its affiliated bodies.

"Ministers of the Union are serving on the board of a think tank belonging to the RSS while being ministers is a clear case of conflict of interest," he said.

Referring to Prasad's remarks on political violence in the country, especially in the context of Kerala, Tewari said the political killings have been condemned from this platform by the Congress repeatedly.

"While the law minister sees the violence of the CPM, he does not see the violence which is unleashed by his own partymen and organisations which owe allegiance to it," he said.

The Congress leader said all those people who have gathered for the 'Sanjhi Virasat Bachao' (save country's composite heritage) are actually "poor runners" of the liberal idea of India, an idea which has been under stress, strain and sustained assault for the last 38 months.

"But the ideological battle against sectarianism, against fundamentalism and against the kind of obscurantism would continue, and ultimately we would triumph," he said.

To a question on the BJP claiming that its position is strong and would get more seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Tewari said, "The BJP does not gauge the anger on the road and one hoped that 360 seats would not turn 36."

The Congress always believed in nurturing institutions, he said and accused the BJP-led government of superseding one officer with another in the armed forces.

"Is this showing respect to the Indian defence establishment and the Indian Army?" he asked.

Earlier in the day, the BJP hit out at the Opposition saying it was "hypocrisy" to talk about composite heritage but remain silent over the killing of RSS workers in Kerala allegedly by CPM workers.

Rahul on Thursday took part in the 'Sanjhi Virasat Bachao' (save country's composite heritage) hosted by rebel JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, where former prime minister Manmohan Singh and other senior Congress members, as well as Left party leaders, including CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury and CPI national secretary D Raja, took part in.

Updated Date: Aug 17, 2017 22:31 PM

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