On Saturday, Congress President Rahul Gandhi while addressing an election rally in Kolar, Karnataka, made his usual charges about Rafale deal against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and for good measure, made this remark: "I have a question. Why all the thieves have Modi in their names, be it Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi and Narendra Modi? We don't know how many more such Modis will come out."
Replying to this, Modi on Tuesday, while addressing election rallies, pointed out to what Rahul said about the 'Modi' surname. The PM said that he could well understand if Rahul made personal attacks on him, but the Congress leader has now started saying, why all the 'chors' have 'Modi' as their surname.
The PM pointed out that Rahul's remark could hurt the feelings of all those who have Modi as their surname in different states, where they belong to different castes.
Already, Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Modil on Tuesday said he would be filing a defamation case against Rahul, while people having Modi surnames in different states of India are also planning to file defamation suits.
This not an isolated case about slip of tongue. On Monday, the Supreme Court, acting on a petition by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi, issued notice to Rahul Gandhi for misleading the public by saying that the apex court has found the Prime Minister guilty of corruption in Rafale deal.
The Chief Justice of India said: "We did not say any such thing (Chowkidar Chor Hai). We make it clear this court had no occasion to make any view or finding or make any observation as allegedly attributed to the court by the respondent (Rahul Gandhi)."
Rahul Gandhi had said "now the Supreme Court has accepted that chowkidar has done the theft". The apex court has asked the Congress President to file his reply by April 22.
I had already said on April 10 in 'Aaj Ki Baat' show and written on this blog that Rahul has done a mistake in telling a lie and misquoting the Supreme Court. He may have to face trouble, when the hearing takes place on his reply on April 23.
Rahul cannot hide behind the argument that he had no intention of misrepresenting the apex court's order, nor can he say that his remarks were twisted and quoted out of context. Rahul's remarks are on record in videotapes.
One thing is certain: the Supreme Court is going to take a strong view over such loose remarks that are being made in the heat of election campaign. Already the Election Commission, on prodding from the apex court, has banned UP CM Yogi Adityanath, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi, BSP supremo Mayawati and SP leader Azam Khan from campaigning for 48 to 72 hours.
Our political leaders must exercise restraint while making remarks in the heat and dust of election campaign.
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