BJP petitions Election Commission against Rahul Gandhi's Army remark

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses a public meeting in Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh on Monday. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday urged the Election Commission to take strict action against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his remarks that the Modi government has created two categories of soldiers, one comprising those from poor families and reserved classes, and the other from rich families.

A senior party delegation comprising External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Union ministers Arjun Ram Meghwal, G Kishan Reddy and Rajeev Chandrasekhar approached the Election Commission and lodged a complaint. BJP Rajya Sabha MP and national media in-charge Anil Baluni was also part of the delegation.

"A few days ago, Rahul Gandhi said that Narendra Modi has created two types of soldiers, one comprising sons of those who are poor and belong to Dalit, Adivasi, backwards, economically weaker sections in the general category and minorities, while the other comprising those who are sons of rich," Jaishankar told reporters after meeting poll panel officials.

"This is a lie. This is an attack on our armed forces. They want to make it a controversial topic and lower the morale of the armed forces. This is not a topic of elections. This is a matter of national security," he added.

Gandhi had made the reported remarks at a recent poll rally in Raebareli while attacking the Modi government on the Agnipath recruitment scheme for soldiers.

Jaishankar described Gandhi's remarks as "very serious" and said the BJP delegation brought it to the notice of the Election Commission, and urged it to take "very strict action" against the Congress leader and make him retract his comments.

"If, during elections, such attacks are carried out at the Army, which, deployed at our borders, is using its all might to keep the country safe from Chinese forces and also standing firm against terrorism at the Pakistan border If you attack them in such a way without any reason and by spreading lies and say that if they martyr, the government will not do anything for them, then we take serious exception to it," he added.

Jaishankar said that such attacks against armed forces are "very dangerous" for the country. "We should never tolerate it. Today we came before the Election Commission (seeking action against Rahul Gandhi) and we want to place it before the country also that this country will not tolerate that such attacks are carried out on our soldiers for political reasons," he added.

Jaishankar said this is not the first time that the Congress and Rahul Gandhi have attacked soldiers. "A few years ago, when our soldiers in Arunachal gave a pushback to Chinese forces, then Rahul Gandhi said in Parliament that our soldiers were beaten up. We saw this insult when the Balakot surgical strike was carried out, questions were raised. When we took successful action in Uri, on that also these people raised questions. Many things are said against Gen (Bipin) Rawat," he added.

Jaishankar said the BJP delegation also sought to draw the attention of the Election Commission to the complaints filed by the party against the Congress and other constituents of the INDIA bloc for alleged violation of the Model Code of Conduct and urged the poll panel to look into them.

"It is a matter of regret that no action has been taken on them," he told reporters. "So we have once again come here. During our meeting with the Commission's officials, we presented 22 such examples in which we have filed complaints earlier. We once again reiterated that no action was taken against them. If no action is taken and such violations continue, the country will suffer the loss. The Model Code of Conduct will have no relevance then," he added. 

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