Thu, 30 Nov 2023

New Delhi [India], March 31 (ANI): Under sharp attack from the BJP, the Congress on Thursday sought to distance itself from remarks of party leader Digvijaya Singh over the German Foreign Ministry's remarks on the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi from Lok Sabha, saying that the party firmly believes that India's democratic processes themselves have to deal with the "threats posed to democracy".

Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Kiren Rijiju and Anurag Thakur strongly reacted to Digvijaya Singh's remarks.

Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said the Indian judiciary cannot be influenced by foreign interference.

"Thank you Rahul Gandhi for inviting foreign powers for interference into India's internal matters. Remember, Indian Judiciary can't be influenced by foreign interference. India won't tolerate 'foreign influence' anymore because our Prime Minister is:- Shri @narendramodi Ji," Rijiju said in a tweet over Divijaya Singh's remarks.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said it is apparent that Congress wants foreign interference in India's domestic affairs.

"Apparent that @INCIndia wants foreign interference in our affairs. Sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Communist Party of China with opaque contents. During interactions abroad, plead for help to change the government. Thank them when help forthcoming. Any more proof needed?" she said in a tweet.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said Congress and Rahul Gandhi don't believe to fight India's "democratic, political and legal battle within country""Disgrace to nation, @INCIndia@RahulGandhi don't believe to fight India's democratic, politicallegal battle within country, hence, invite foreign powers to interfere in our internal matter. But New India headed by @narendramodi Ji will not tolerate any foreign intervention," Thakur said.

Digvijaya Singh, MP and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister on Thursday thanked Germany for "taking note" of Rahul Gandhi's disqualification from Parliament as Lok Sabha MP.

"Thank you German Foreign Affairs Ministry and Richard Walker for taking note of how the Democracy is being compromised in India through the persecution of Rahul Gandhi," Digvijaya Singh said in a tweet, reacting to another tweet about German Foreign Ministry spokesperson's comments.

During a press briefing that was aired on German state-owned international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW), the spokesperson stated that her country "expects that the standards of judicial independence and fundamental democratic principles will apply in the case.""We have taken note of the verdict of the first instance against the Indian opposition politician Rahul Gandhi as well as the suspension of his parliamentary mandate. To our knowledge, Mr Gandhi is in a position to appeal the verdict," she is heard saying in the clip of the briefing shared on Twitter by Richard Walkar the Chief International Editor of DW"It will then become clear whether this verdict will stand and whether the suspension of his mandate has any basis," the spokesperson added.

Earlier this week US Department of State Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said that the US is watching Rahul Gandhi's case in Indian courts.

Patel, responding to a question on Rahul Gandhi's disqualification said that the US engages with the Indian government on a shared commitment to democratic values, including freedom of expression.

Seeking to contain political damage over Digvijaya Singh's remarks, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the Congress and opposition parties will fight the Modi government fearlessly.

"@INCIndia firmly believes that India's democratic processes themselves have to deal with the threats posed to our democracy by Mr. Modi's assault on our institutionshis politics of vendetta, intimidation, threatsharassment. INCOppn parties will take him on fearlessly," Jairam Ramesh said in a tweet.

Rahul Gandhi was convicted by a Surat district court on March 23 and sentenced to two years imprisonment in a criminal defamation case over his 'Modi surname' remark made during a rally in 2019.

He was later disqualified from Lok Sabha. The sentence of two-year imprisonment has been suspended for 30 days by the court to enable Rahul Gandhi to move higher courts.

Rahul Gandhi's disqualification from the Lower House of Parliament triggered a massive political row with the BJP stating that the Congress leader was "a habitual loose cannon" and the Congress alleging that he was got "deliberately disqualified".

It is not the first time that Congress has distanced itself from Digvijaya Singh's remarks.

In a press conference in Jammu and Kashmir during Bharat Jodo Yatra, Rahul Gandhi had referred to Digvijaya Singh's remarks about need of proof concerning the surgical strike as "ridiculous thing".

"I do not agree to what Digvijaya Singh said. We have full trust on our Army. If Army takes action, there is no need of proof. I personally disagree with his statement and Congress official position is also that this is his personal opinion," Rahul Gandhi had said.

Digvijaya Singh had said the government talks of surgical strikes. "They claim to have killed so many people but no proof is given," he had said.

Rahul Gandhi had said Digvijaya Singh's views were outlying views.

"I would like to assure you that Digvijaya Singh's views are outlying views. They are not views that are held by the centre of the party. We are absolutely crystal clear that the armed forces do a job. They do a job exceptionally well and they do not need to be providing proof for anything...I am sorry to have to say this about a senior leader, he said a ridiculous thing," Rahul Gandhi had said. (ANI)

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