NEW DELHI: The BJP on Tuesday slammed Rahul Gandhi as a “failed dynast” and failed politician after the Congress vice president defended dynastic politics during a public event in the United States.
Within hours of Gandhi’s speech, Union minister Smriti Irani blasted him at a press conference, saying his admission that the Congress had turned arrogant since 2012 was a “big political confession” and a reflection on Sonia Gandhi, who was and remains its president.
“A failed dynast today chose to speak about his failed political journey in the US… The country (India) is not listening so he is speaking somewhere else,” Irani said at a BJP press conference.
“The fact that Rahul Gandhi chose to belittle the prime minister is not a surprise but expected… It is an indication of his failed strategy. The people of the country where he leads a political party no longer support him so he is expressing his pain abroad,” she said.
She also challenged him to a public debate “without a handwritten script” over his criticism of the Modi government.
Irani, who had lost to Gandhi in Amethi in the last Lok Sabha poll and is seen as the BJP’s nominee in the next election as well, described the US college as a “platform of convenience” for the Congress leader.
Hitting out at him for his remarks on dynasties, Irani cited the examples of President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to argue that the top three constitutional positions were held by people with humble backgrounds.
This was evidence that merit, not dynasty, drove India’s robust democracy, the Information and Broadcasting minister added.
During his interaction, Gandhi had argued that India is being run by dynasties and cited the examples of Samajwadi Party, DMK and even Bollywood.
“So that’s how India runs. So don’t get after me because that’s how India is run,” he said.
Taking a dig at Gandhi’s developmental vision for India, Irani said people should visit Amethi, his parliamentary constituency, to see how much development he had done.
She claimed that Gandhi had little awareness about the lack of propriety in criticising his country on foreign soil as he was driven by “boosting his own image not patriotism”.
In an apparent reference to Gandhi’s meeting with the Chinese envoy in India during the Dokalam stand-off, she said he had not spoken to the Indian diaspora or officials but chosen “to converse with a foreign power”.
To Gandhi’s criticism of the Modi government’s handling of Kashmir, she accused him of indulging in politics and said it was the Nehru-Gandhi family which had passed on a “legacy of challenges” to the country.
The minister also wondered if his leadership was defined by the BJP and not “his own karma”, responding to his claim that the saffron party used trolls to target him online.
Irani’s criticism of Gandhi was echoed by her colleague, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
“Rahul Gandhi gets wisdom when he is outside India. There is a tradition of our country that we don’t talk about domestic politics overseas. Despite being from a big family, Rahul Gandhi did not pay attention to this established tradition.”
The Congress vice president keeps raising these issues and the country keeps rejecting them, the law minister said.