Rahul Gandhi On PM’s ‘Shakti’ Jab

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'Always Trying To Change My Words...': Rahul Gandhi On PM's 'Shakti' Jab

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and PM Narendra Modi (File).

New Delhi:

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Monday responded to criticism by Prime Minister Narendra Modi about his use of the word ‘shakti‘ – a reference to the feminine divine energy – when describing the opposition’s bid to defeat the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the April/May Lok Sabha election.

The PM and the BJP had accused Mr Gandhi and the opposition, including the Congress-led INDIA bloc, of wanting to destroy ‘shakti‘, and extended the comment to “…denying the existence of Lord Ram”. “I accept their challenge. I will sacrifice my life,” the PM said in Telangana’s Jagtial.

Mr Gandhi then counter-accused the PM of “always trying to change the meaning of my words by twisting them in some way or the other”, and said he had spoken about a “power (or ‘shakti‘) that has captured institutions, media, industry, and the entire constitutional structure of India”.

“… he (PM Modi) knows I have spoken a deep truth. The power that I mentioned, the power that we are fighting… the mask of that power is Modiji. This is such a power that has captured institutions… the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Enforcement Directorate, the Income Tax Department, the Election Commission, the media, and the entire constitutional structure of India,” he declared.

“I recognise that power… Modiji also recognises that power. This is not religious power. It is the power of corruption and falsehood. And this is why, whenever I raise my voice against him, Modiji gets upset and enraged,” Mr Gandhi thundered at a ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’ event in Mumbai.

READ | “Misogynistic”: Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Shakti’ Remark Rally Sparks Row

Mr Gandhi was seen as referring to claims by the opposition that the BJP uses central agencies, like the CBI, ED and Income Tax Department, to target and intimidate rivals, particularly before an election.

Mr Gandhi also spoke about a “senior (Maharashtra political) leader” who quit the Congress.

“Weeping… he told my mother (Congress matriarch Sonia Gandhi), ‘Soniaji, I’m ashamed to say, I do not have the power to fight this people, this force. I do not want to go to jail’.”

The “senior leader” was seen by many to be ex-Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who last month swapped the Congress for the BJP, and got a Rajya Sabha nomination, within 48 hours. Mr Chavan this morning, however, issued a statement refusing talk Mr Gandhi was referring to him.

READ | Ashok Chavan On Rahul’s “Weeping Senior Leader Who Quit” Jab

Mr Chavan has three cases pending against him; two are linked to the 2010 Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society scam, which led to his resignation as Chief Minister.

In a response on X (formerly Twitter), Mr Gandhi also said the PM had waived loans worth thousands of crores while farmers commit suicide over repay debts of a few thousands.

The Congress leader also referred to earlier “crony capitalism” attacks on the Prime Minister and the BJP, and claimed Mr Modi had “auctioned the country’s property to increase that power” while poor Indians live in poverty and suffer through an ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

The Prime Minister wasn’t the only BJP figure to lash out at Mr Gandhi; BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla accused the Congress MP of expressing “misogynistic” views.

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