The Congress on Friday said the sequence of events connected with Rahul Gandhi's disqualification from Lok Sabha unfolded with the speed of a "bullet train" and alleged that the BJP expects him to "apologise" to "people who have run away" after taking people's money from India. Addressing a press conference at the Rajiv Bhawan here, Congress media and publicity department chairperson Pawan Khera said in the last few days, a "tsunami of support" has come up on Twitter, with many people offering their homes to Gandhi as "he lives in our hearts" and the government does not need to worry about his home. A notice to Gandhi to vacate the 12, Tughlaq Lane bungalow was served by the Housing Committee of Lok Sabha following his disqualification last week after a Surat court convicted and sentenced him to two years imprisonment in a 2019 criminal defamation case over his "Modi surname" remark.
Khera said the party's campaign seeking answers in the Adani issue will continue with vigour, and "our party leader will not apologise to anyone, whatever may be the consequences". The Congress on Thursday had used embattled IPL founder Lalit Modi's tweets threatening to take Gandhi to court to attack the BJP and said "global scamsters" were now coming to the defence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Launching a fresh salvo at the BJP, Khera said, "first big extracts from his (Gandhi's) speech in Parliament were expunged, and then he was not allowed to come into Parliament, and conditions were kept that if he will come, he would have to apologise first". He asked, "Apology for what? For a comment that he didn't make, and they alleged that he insulted the country." "The challenges facing democracy in India, to discuss that with Indian students studying abroad, what is wrong with that? Democracy get strengthened through dialogue," Khera said. He said when an award is given by a foreign country, then they carry that "certification from abroad" and go about it, then they (BJP) don't say as to why a foreign certification is needed. But, if it has been said abroad that there are challenges to democracy then they get offended, the Congress leader said.
Without naming any leader, Khera said when he said how people earlier used to feel ashamed to have been born in India, then was it not an insult to the country in foreign land. Khera said on February 7, Gandhi gave a speech in Parliament on the Adani issue, and put forth his view and asked questions. "Within nine days, comes a defamation case, on which the petitioner himself had sought a stay earlier. He runs to the court to get his stay vacated. And, hearing begins again in a Surat court, and seven hearings take place in 20 days. Bullet train! And, then punishment is pronounced. Within 24-hour of the sentence, he (Gandhi) is disqualified from Lok Sabha," Khera said. "And, even 24 hours had not elapsed after the disqualification, a letter comes on cancellation of allotment of his government bungalow. This is called bullet train. In matters related to Adani, everything is happening like a bullet train," he alleged.
The Congress has been accusing the BJP and Prime Minister Modi of assisting the business group in getting projects in its favour, a charge denied by the ruling party. Khera alleged that the purpose of the chain of events surrounding Gandhi's disqualification is to "save Adani". "And, it is being expected from us that we apologise to Nirav Modi, we apologise to Mehul Choksi. Rahul Gandhi had taken name of 3-4 such people, during his speech in Karnataka -- Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, Lalit Modi and Vijay Mallya," he claimed. "My leader will not apologise to these friends of yours, who have absconded after taking money of this country," Khera alleged. "My leader didn't apologise... One of them have even threatened to file a case in London. This has come to our democracy. See, who are coming in defence of the PM," he asked. Khera claimed that the BJP is "anxious" after the "success of the Bharat Jodo Yatra", and the way Gandhi is raising questions.
"We will not apologise to your friends who have run away after taking people's money, whatever may be the consequences," the Congress leader said. The Opposition party has been relentlessly attacking the BJP for allegedly allowing economic offenders such as Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi and Mehul Choksi get away and flee abroad with people's money. In a series of tweets on Thursday, Lalit Modi said, "I see just about every Tom, Dick and Gandhi associates again and again saying I am a fugitive of justice. why? How? and when was I convicted of same." "Unlike #Papu aka @RahulGandhi now an ordinary citizen saying it and it seems one and all opposition leaders have nothing else to do so they too are either ill-informed or just vendetta prone. I have decided to take the @RahulGandhi...to court in UK right away. I am sure he will have to come up with some solid evidence. I look forward to seeing him make a complete fool of himself," he had tweeted.
Asked about their campaign, Khera said that "we will seek answers, we will reiterate our demand for a JPC (joint parliamentary committee probe into the Adani issue)... raise voices from streets if not allowed to speak in Parliament". "Rallies will continue and even Rahul ji has an event in Karnataka at the place where he had made the speech in 2019," he said. The Lok Sabha Secretariat disqualified Gandhi as MP from Wayanad in Kerala after his conviction in the case for his remark. Asked about the OBC issue attached with Gandhi's comments, Khera said people who are "equating these 'thieves as OBC' are dishonouring the OBC community".Asked about the reactions on his tweet on Lord Ram on Ram Navami, the senior Congress leader said, "Did I mention Rahul Gandhi in my tweet? And, if some people are 'equating' Lord Ram's mention in my tweet with Rahul Gandhi, can they tell who are the 'Rakhsash' (the evil)".
On the violence in parts of West Bengal on Ram Navami day, he alleged, "It is a toolkit of those in power at the Centre to ensure that there is a slow burner communalism constantly activated in the country". "We condemn the violence and and request the state government and expect from the central government to ensure peace is restored and such divisive politics is stopped," Khera said. Asked about Prime Minister Modi's visit to the new Parliament building on Thursday, he dubbed the infrastructure project a "vanity project".