BJP, Congress trade charges over ‘rajdharma’

The BJP on Friday accused the Congress of backtracking on ‘rajdharma’ by opposing the CAA after seeking citizenship for refugees from neighbouring countries, but the opposition party insisted it followed the ‘rajdharma’ of equality and harmony while the Modi government has a “divisive mindset”.
BJP leader and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Congress was “politicking” over the sensitive issue of violence in Delhi when there is a need for all to talk collectively of restoration of peace, amity and harmony. “Sonia Gandhi ji, please don’t preach us rajdharma. Your record is full of its violation and twists and turns for plain and simple vote bank politics. The Congress should look at its face in the mirror of rajdharma,” he said.
‘Rajdharma’ broadly means discharging of rightful duties by a government with impartiality towards one and all.
The BJP leader stated that former prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi had speeded up citizenship for refugees from Uganda and Sri Lanka respectively.
At a press conference, he noted that Manmohan Singh as the Leader of the Congress in Rajya Sabha had asked the then deputy prime minister L K Advani to grant citizenship to persecuted minority refugees from neighbouring countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The then Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, who is currently at the helm in the state as well, had also sought it.
“Sonia ji tell us what kind of ‘rajdharma’ is this that everyone has backtracked? What we have done your government could not do in 10 years… If Congress does something, it is good. But if we do the same thing, they provoke the people. What type of ‘rajdharma’ is this?” Prasad asked.
Slamming the BJP for its remarks, the Congress asserted that its leaders like Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Manmohan Singh believed in equality and harmony, while the Modi government has a “divisive mindset”.
“Indira ji, Rajiv ji, Manmohan Singh ji’s rajdharma was about giving priority to equality and harmony. There is prejudice in what you are doing. There is a divisive mindset,” the Congress posted on its official Twitter handle.
To Prasad’s assertion that the National Population Register exercise was started by the Congress-led UPA government in 2010, the opposition party’s spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the NPR and the National Register of Citizens are linked with the additional questions being added to the NPR by the Modi dispensation.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also hit out at the BJP over Prasad’s remarks on NPR and asked why doesn’t he implement it in Bihar.
The BJP-JD(U) is speaking one language in Bihar and another in Delhi, he said.
The Bihar assembly recently passed a unanimous resolution against the NRC and new format of NPR.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asserted that his government has not discussed bringing in the NRC.
Both the parties sparred a day after Congress president Sonia Gandhi led a party delegation to President Ram Nath Kovind, urging him to push the BJP-led NDA government to follow ‘rajdharma’.
Prasad said Sonia Gandhi and other party leaders “incited” people against the CAA and never spoke a word against objectionable comments, including against Modi and cutting off Assam from the rest of India, made by some anti-CAA protestors.
He also repeated the BJP’s charge that the Delhi violence was an outcome of “instigation” by Congress leaders, including Sonia, Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi.
Sonia Gandhi has given a call for “aar par ki ladai” (fight to finish) during a rally against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in December 2019.
Accusing the Congress of doing politics over the Delhi violence, which has so far killed 42 persons, he said the party has not forgotten its defeat in the last Lok Sabha polls and was putting its family and political interest over national interest.