The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s row over “raj dharma (duty of a leader)” continued on Saturday, a day after Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asked the Sonia Gandhi-led party to introspect before making such remarks.
The controversy over the remark began on Thursday after Congress, in a memorandum on the Centre’s actions during the communal violence in Delhi, said that the government should follow “raj dharma” . It had also strongly advocated for the immediate removal of Union Home Minister Amit Shah for “abdicating duty” and being unable to control the violence.
At least 42 people have been killed due to large-scale communal violence in parts of North East Delhi over the Citizenship Amendment Act.
“Rajdharma” was a Hindi word famously used by former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee to ask then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to act during the 2002 riots in the state.
Sibal said in a tweet that “listening, learning and obeying raj dharma” was not one of Modi government’s strong points.
Lashing out at the Congress for reminding the BJP of “raj dharma”, Prasad said on Friday that the party should not speak about such duties if it was going to “flip flop” on the Citizenship Amendment Act. “I ask [Congress President] Sonia Gandhi, your senior leaders had a view about those persecuted in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan,” he said.
“[Former Prime Minister] Indira Gandhi had given help to people who fled from Uganda, [Former Prime Minister] Rajiv Gandhi had helped Tamils from Sri Lanka,” he added. “[Former Prime Minister] Manmohan Singh had urged LK Advani that citizenship should be given, and [Rajasthan Chief Minister] Ashok Gehlot had written to the home ministers in both UPA [United Progressive Alliance] and NDA [National Democratic Alliance] for citizenship...So has [Congress leader] Tarun Gogoi...So what is this ‘rajdharma’ that makes your party flip flop?”
The minister also accused Sonia Gandhi of instigating people by making remarks such as “is par aur ki ladai [the fight between two sides]” during an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act in Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan.