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‘For PM Modi, Manipur is not India’: Rahul Gandhi speaks in Lok Sabha

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday launched a scathing attack on the BJP government for its handling of the Manipur crisis. He accused the party of splitting the Northeastern state in two and also called the BJP government “anti-national”.

Addressing the Lower House during the debate on the no-confidence motion against the Centre, the Congress leader came down heavily on the Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the violence in Manipur and the recent clashes in Haryana’s Nuh.Rahul said, “from Manipur to Nuh, you have set the entire country on fire.”

Gandhi was the first speaker when the no-confidence debate resumed on Wednesday. In his first statement in Parliament since being reinstated as an MP following a recent Supreme Court ruling, the Congress leader began by apologizing to the Lok Sabha Speaker for his last speech, where he had mentioned industrialist Gautam Adani.

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Rahul Gandhi’s speech at Lok Sabha

Rahul said, “Speaker Sir, first of all, I would like to thank you for reinstating me as an MP of the Lok Sabha. When I spoke the last time, perhaps I caused you trouble because I focussed on Adani – maybe your senior leader was pained…That pain might have had an impact on you as well. I apologise to you for that. But I spoke the truth. Today, my friends in BJP need not be scared because my speech today is not on Adani.”

Gandhi went on to accuse the Centre of “murdering Bharat Mata in Manipur” in his speech and termed members of the ruling party “traitors”. “I used the word ‘Manipur’ but the truth is that Manipur does not remain anymore. You have divided Manipur into two. You have divided and broken Manipur,” Rahul said, amid loud uproar from the treasury benches. For PM Modi, the Congress leader said, “Manipur is not India”.

“You have murdered the voice of India, which means you have murdered Bharat Mata in Manipur… My mother is sitting here. The other mother, Bharat Mata, you killed in Manipur,” he said, pointing to Sonia Gandhi who was present in the House.

Recounting some experiences from his visit to Manipur after violence first broke out in the Northeastern state on May 3, the Congress leader said: “I asked a woman, ‘What happened to you?’ She said, ‘My small son, an only child, was shot before my eyes. I spent the whole night with the body of my child and then I felt afraid. I left my house’. I asked her if she had brought along something with her and she said only the clothes she was wearing and a photo.”

His comments prompted loud protests from the treasury benches, with Union minister Kiren Rijiju demanding an apology from the Congress leader.

The no-confidence motion has been brought by the Congress on behalf of the opposition grouping INDIA. The debate was initiated on Tuesday by Congress’ Gaurav Gogoi. It will conclude with the prime minister’s reply on Thursday.

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