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Congress hits out at BJP after Law Minister tells party to not preach 'raj dharma' to govt


ANI Politics
The Congress on Saturday hit out at the BJP and the central government after Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told the principal Opposition party to not preach "raj dharma" to the government.
Slamming Prasad's remarks, senior Congress leader and former Union minister Kapil Sibal said that Opposition cannot preach "raj dharma" to the Centre's BJP government as "listening, learning, and obeying such duties" is not in BJP's disposition.
Responding to Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad's remarks that Congress could not preach raj dharma to the government, Sibal on Saturday said: "How can we, Mr. Minister? When you did not listen to Vajpayee ji in Gujarat, why would you listen to us! Listening, learning and obeying Rajdharma not one of your government's strong points."
Sibal was alluding to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's famous remarks wherein he reminded the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to follow "raj dharma" during 2002 anti-Muslim riots in the state.
'Raj dharma' refers to the duty of a ruler to establish justice among his subjects and not discriminate on the basis of religion, race, caste, creed, laguage on or any other basis.
Reiterating similar sentiments, former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat also attacked the BJP saying even if the 'raj dharma' was not followed in Gujarat earlier, it should have been paid heed in Delhi at least.
"Ravi Shankar Prasad ji won't take a lesson of raj dharma from us but he should learn from Atal (Bihari Vajpayee) ji who had earlier said that while Gujarat was 'burning', the BJP government in the state was not follwoing the 'raj dharma'. Atal ji had spoken about rajd harma then. What happened in Gujarat then has now been repeated in Delhi. So won't they take lessons from Atal ji as well? If you failed to follow the lessons in Ahmedabad then you should have followed it in Delhi," he said.
"If so, then BJP should have earlier said that it does not approve any of Atal ji's comments and that his remarks are baseless. In addition, you are suddenly reminded today that Kapil Mishra is inciting violence when the court has taken cognizance over the issue. Then why are you people silent? Raise the matter and take action against him as soon as possible," the senior Congress leader stated.
The remarks have come as parts of north-east Delhi have been hit by violence since Sunday. At least 42 people, including a police head constable, have died while around 200 people have been injured in the violence.
Congress leaders Subhash Chopra and Sushmita Dev too questioned the government over its inaction to secure the citizens.
"What has the government been doing since day one? Initially, the death toll was six and now it has risen to 42. We had a meeting with the Delhi Police Commissioner and others. They assured us that action would be taken. We need action against those who incited violence through inflammatory speeches," Chopra noted.
Former Lok Sabha MP Sushmita Dev said that the BJP is a "failed government".
"They (BJP government) have not been able to secure their citizens. Amid his failures, the only solution Ravi Shankar Prasad has is to blame the Opposition. It is not only absurd but a blatant lie. And I think lies are the basic dharma of the BJP and the country knows that," she added.
Former Delhi cabinet minister Arvinder Singh Lovely also stressed that it has been very unfortunate that riots are taking place in the national capital. "People are still living in fear. We are appealing for peace. Our delegation is also visiting the people who have been affected by violence. We demand proper action as well as an inquiry in the matter," he said.
Earlier on Thursday, Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh along with other party leaders had met President Ram Nath Kovind in Delhi and sought the removal of Home Minister Amit Shah over Delhi violence, alleging that he "abdicated his duty" and "allowed the situation to escalate through inaction".
The party leaders urged the President to use his powers to ask the central government to protect "raj dharma" so that people were assured of peace, tranquillity and justice.
Asked about the BJP's stand on statements made by its leaders Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Verma and Kapil Mishra, Prasad had on Friday said, "We have made our position very clear, we do not approve these statements.

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First Published: Feb 29 2020 | 12:51 PM IST

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