Press Trust of india

Wrong for Congress to claim freedom movement legacy, it is now ‘Italian Congress’: BJP

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New Delhi: The BJP claimed on Tuesday that the current Congress is not the “original” one but “Italian Congress” as it hit back at the opposition party on its president Mallikarjun Kharge’s jibe that while his party helped the country get independence, the ruling party did not lose even a “dog” for the nation.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi expressed his party’s strong condemnation of Kharge’s comments and claimed that the opposition party was wrong in claiming the legacy of the freedom movement as Mahatma Gandhi had said after independence that the Congress should be disbanded.

“This is not the original Congress. We all know how it treated leaders like Subhas Chandra Bose, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Sardar Patel who were in the original Congress.  This is an Italian Congress led by some other people,” he told reporters in an apparent reference to the opposition party’s longest-serving president Sonia Gandhi’s country of birth.

“This is a bogus Congress full of bogus leaders. Their president is a rubber stamp,” Joshi alleged, targeting Kharge.

At a rally in Rajasthan on Monday, Kharge claimed that while the Congress stood for the country and helped attain Independence after its leaders gave supreme sacrifices, “not even a dog of the BJP was lost” for the country.

He had also alleged that the BJP government “talks like a lion but acts like a mouse” as it is not taking on China for indulging in incursions along the border and is running away from a debate on the issue in Parliament.

Ruling and opposition members in Rajya Sabha also sparred over Kharge’s remarks, with BJP MPs demanding an apology from him.

Union minister Kiren Rijiju accused Kharge of using “abusive” language and said this is how politicians become a subject of ridicule in people’s minds. “One cannot believe that he can stoop so low,” the BJP leader told reporters.

Another Union minister Ashwani Kumar Choubey said such petty comments will sink the Congress and noted that its leader Rahul Gandhi had also used “demeaning” language against armed forces.

“With comments like these, the Bharat Jodo Yatra will turn out to be ‘shav yatra’ (funeral procession) of the opposition party,” he said.

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