NEW DELHI: Breaking his silence on Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) questioning regarding the National Herald case, Rahul Gandhi said that the party should focus on the Agnipath Scheme, rather than the “small affair” of his questioning.
Addressing Congress leaders and workers at the party headquarters here, the former party president also appealed to the party leaders and workers to continue their fight to get the scheme withdrawn.
“Leave the ED issue, it is a small affair. But save our youth, who train so hard to get into the forces every morning. Saving their future is our responsibility,” he said.
Slamming the government over the Agnipath Scheme, Rahul Gandhi said, “They have broken the back of the small-scale industries, MSMEs. Now they have also blocked the opportunity that offered our youth a job in the Army.
Hitting out at the government, the former Congress President said, “They (BJP) used to talk of “One Rank, One Pension”, now reality is ‘No Rank, No Pension’.”
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“There will be no employment once these young people retire after four years. On the other hand, the Chinese army is sitting on Indian soil. Over 1,000 sq metres of land have been snatched from us. Even the Indian government has accepted it. At a time when the forces should be strengthened, they are weakening. It will have implications when there is a war,” the Congress leader warned.
He also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have to withdraw the Agnipath Scheme just like the three farm laws were repealed.
The Congress Lok Sabha MP from Kerala’s Wayanad said that the ED officers quizzed him about the “secret” behind his patience and energy despite long hours of questioning in a room measuring “about 12 feet by 12 feet”.
“They asked me to not leave the chair and keep sitting for hours. Then they again asked me don’t you get tired as we have gotten tired? They then asked me what is my secret? And I told them that it is due to Vipassana meditation sessions,” Rahul Gandhi said.
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The Congress leader also said that but the real truth is that I was not alone in that room as crores of Congress workers and leaders were with him.
“Rahul Gandhi was not sitting alone in ED’s room, but every Congress leader, the worker was sitting with Rahul Gandhi in that room,” Rahul Gandhi said.
“I also had those who fight to safeguard our democracy. They may not have received the special invitation of the ED, but they were also with me,” he added.
The Gandhi scion has appeared five times in front of the ED and has been questioned for over 54 hours.
Rahul Gandhi then jokingly said that no one knows patience much better than Congress leaders and workers. “I have been working with the Congress since 2004, I will not be patient then what? Look at Sachin Pilot sitting. I am sitting, Siddaramaiah ji is sitting. Our party teaches us patience, does not let us get tired,” he said.
“Congress means patience, otherwise just join hands with BJP, bow your head, don’t speak the truth, work will be done,” he said.
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He said that even ED officials also understood that Congress leaders cannot be intimidated, suppressed or threatened as it fights for truth.
He also said that there is no shortage of patience in truth. “Truth never gets tired, but lies will get tired,” he said.