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Rahul Gandhi's UC Berkeley speech: If anyone insulted India globally, it is Narendra Modi, says Congress

Rahul Gandhi's speech at the University of California, Berkeley has now started a caustic war of words between BJP and Congress.

After Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani called the Congress vice-president a "failed dynast" in response to his speech against the Modi government, Congress leader Anand Sharma lashed out at Irani and said she is ignorant of history.

 Rahul Gandhis UC Berkeley speech: If anyone insulted India globally, it is Narendra Modi, says Congress

File image of Anand Sharma. PTI

"The issues raised by the I&B minister show her ignorance of history and her eagerness to be an apologist for a prime minister who has betrayed his country," said Sharma.

"It is true that we built institutions of excellence which are acknowledged. We produced our men and women who compete with the world," he said, also referring to the IT revolution in 1980s.

"What is wrong in talking about India's proud achievements? We were able to raise our economy to the point that we were included in the top ten economies of the world," he said.

"These are facts which cannot be contested. If today India is acknowledged as a nuclear power, the credit belongs to this country but also to those people who contributed to it," Sharma said.

"This is what a national leader is supposed to say about his country on an international platform. This should be supported, not condemned," Sharma said.

"BJP cannot take any credit for India's independence because it was not involved in the freedom struggle," he further said.

"Rahul Gandhi was not belittling the prime minister. He, like a statesman, said that the prime minister was his own PM too. In a democracy, this is allowed," he also said.

"If the society of India will not stay as one, how will the country go forward? Which country would want ties with a country in which people are told what to wear or what to eat? Rahul Gandhi has raised the country's respect in the world," Sharma said.

"If anyone has insulted the country globally, it is the prime minister."

"Is it not true that the prime minister had earlier said that before his government came to power, India had an image of being a corrupt nation? When Modi had gone to Canada, he had said that before 2014, India had an image of a country with a begging bowl in its hands," Sharma said.

"The prime minister had said in China and then in Korea that before his government, when NRIs would come to India, they felt ashamed at being called Indians," he said.

Sharma also said that demonetisation had harmed the economy of India. "It is true that demonetisation has affected employment...What is the objection to this being said that demonetisation hurt the economy? Economists in India and economicts worldwide said this," he said.

On the issue of dynastic politics, Sharma said, "Yes, it is true that there are dynasties in India. There have been dynasties in many countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and both the Americas."

"But when it comes to the Nehru-Gandhi family, they have spent five generations in service of the country," said the Congress leader.

"Jawaharlal Nehru, when he faced the lathis of the British, did not think that he was going to be the prime minister," he said.

Another Congress leader Digvijaya Singh also tweeted in support of Rahul, saying that dynastic politics took place in RSS too.

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Updated Date: Sep 12, 2017 14:33:17 IST