Union Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on Saturday rebuked Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi for saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had “kicked out” Bharatiya Janata Party veteran LK Advani.
“Advaniji is our father figure,” Swaraj tweeted on Saturday. “Your words have hurt us deeply.” The minister said Gandhi should have “some decorum” in his speech.
Addressing a rally at Chandrapur, Maharashtra, on Friday, Gandhi alleged that the prime minister that humiliated LK Advani. “BJP talks of Hinduism. In Hinduism, the guru is supreme,” Gandhi had said. “It talks of guru-shishya [teacher-student] tradition. Who is Modi’s guru? Advani...[The student] threw out the guru from the stage. Advani was kicked out from stage.”
The BJP leadership has refused to give 91-year-old Advani a ticket for the Lok Sabha elections. Advani has represented Gandhinagar in Parliament since 1991 (barring a two-year period) but the party this year selected BJP president Amit Shah as its candidate from the seat. The party has decided not to field anyone above the age of 75 this year, Shah had reportedly said in an interview to The Week earlier this week.
On Friday, Swaraj took on Gandhi’s reported remark that terrorism was not an election topic, PTI reported. “He [Rahul Gandhi] says job is an issue not terrorism,” she said at an election meeting in Hyderabad. “I want to tell Rahul Gandhi, if terrorism is not an issue and there is no terrorism in the country, then why do you go around with SPG [Special Protection Group] security.”
Swaraj added that he should give it in writing that he does not need special security. Gandhi had reportedly said during a Congress Working Committee meeting on March 12 that unemployment, rather than terrorism, should be the election matter they focus on for the Lok Sabha polls.
She also attacked the Congress for not taking strong action against Pakistan after the 2008 Mumbai 26/11 attacks. In comparison, she claimed, the international community had praised India’s stand on terrorism under Modi and his response to the February 14 Pulwama attacks. After a terrorist attack on a Central Reserve Police Force convoy in Jammu and Kashmir that killed 40 personnel, the Indian Air Force had conducted air strikes on a Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp in Balakot, Pakistan.