'My name is Rahul Gandhi, not Rahul Savarkar': Cong rally challenges govt

Former PM Manmohan Singh along with Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi waves at the party workers during the party's 'Bharat Bachao' rally at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi. PHOTO-DALIP KUMAR
Top Congress leaders on Sunday accused the Narendra Modi government of destroying the economy and dividing the nation, stepping their protests against a new law on citizenship rights.

"My name is Rahul Gandhi, not Rahul Savarkar. I will never apologise for speaking truth and nor will any Congressman do so," said the Congress MP at the party's 'Bharat Bachao' rally in Delhi. He was referring to the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) demand that he apologise for his statement about rapes in India. Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was a freedom fighter and a proponent of the Hindutva philosophy.

"The country knows the situation, they (BJP) work to create a divide - between religions - in J&K, in the northeast. Go to Assam, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh. Go and watch what Narendra Modi has done. He has set ablaze these regions," Rahul said. He Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "destroying" the economy.

"It is Prime Minister himself and not India's enemies who have destroyed our economy and (he) still calls himself a patriot." Congress has been targeting the Centre over the controversial Citizenship Act which recently received the President’s assent. “By demonetisation, Modi hit the Indian economy hard, which has not recovered till date. You were lied to, you were told this is a fight against black money. But, your money was given to Adani-Ambani,” Rahul added.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and working president Sonia Gandhi, in separate speeches at the rally, said India faced a time of struggle. "Time has come to save the country and we have to struggle hard for it," Sonia said.

Assuring that the Congress stands with the people of northeast, she said, "The Citizenship Act, which the BJP government has brought in, will destroy the country as it has in the northeast. But I guarantee whoever faces injustice, Congress will stand with them," PTI quoted Sonia as saying.

Priyanka urged people to defend the Constitution. "One who doesn't fight against injustice in country will be judged as a coward. If we remain silent, our revolutionary Constitution will be destroyed and the country's division will start," she was quoted as saying by PTI.

The Citizenship Amendment Act, grants citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who fled Muslim-majority Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan prior to 2015 has led to violent demonstrations. The law has sparked widespread protests in Assam and other parts of Northeast India, as protesters said it would convert thousands of illegal immigrants into legal residents.