Launching a scathing attack on the prime minister, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said he is “not afraid of Narendra Modi” and will not be “intimidated” by the Enforcement Directorate action in the National Herald case.
The Congress leader’s reaction came a day after the ED sealed the office of Young Indian at Herald House in the national capital, and the Delhi police briefly barricaded his residence and the party office.
Rahul Gandhi termed these actions an “attempt at intimidation”.
“We will not be intimidated. We are not afraid of Narendra Modi,” he told reporters outside Parliament. “They may do whatever they want. It does not matter.”
“I will continue to work to protect the country and democracy and maintain harmony in the country. I will continue to do my work whatever they may do,” he said in his first response after the ED sealing the Young Indian office.
On the barricading issue, he said “truth cannot be barricaded”, and added his party will continue to protest. The former Congress chief said the BJP government thinks it can “silence us by putting some pressure on us”.
“But we will not be silenced,” he said. “What Narendra Modi and Amit Shah are doing in this country and against democracy, we will stand against it whatever they may do. It does not matter.”
Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha proceedings on Thursday were adjourned for almost an hour as Congress members created uproar over the issue of alleged misuse of central probe agencies by the government.
Leader of the Opposition and senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge charged that autonomous bodies were being misused by the government to settle political scores, an allegation that was countered by Treasury benches.
“How can they summon me when Parliament is in session?” asked Kharge in the upper house, while talking about the Enforcement Directorate summons, asking him to appear before it in the National Herald case.
As mentioned above, the agency had on Wednesday sealed the offices of Young Indian Limited, the firm that owns Associated Journals, which runs the outlet. Kharge is the company’s authorised representative, and as per ED officials, they sealed the premises as the senior Congress leader wasn’t there.
“I have to appear (before the ED) at 12.30 pm. I want to follow the law. But is it appropriate to summon me at this time, in the middle of the Parliament session?” Kharge said in Rajya Sabha this morning.
“Yesterday, police surrounded the houses of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Will democracy remain alive in such a situation? Will we be able to work as per the Constitution? We will not be afraid. We will fight this,” he added.
From the ruling BJP, Leader of the House Piyush Goyal countered these allegations. “The government does not interfere in the work of any law enforcement agency,” he claimed. “Maybe in their (Congress) rule, that used to happen,” he quipped, while saying, “Now, if anyone does anything wrong, the agencies will do their duty.”
This led to heated exchanges between MPs of the two sides.