At a press briefing, the foreign ministry spokesperson said, “we have taken note of the verdict of first instance against Indian opposition politician Rahul Gandhi as well as the suspension of his parliamentary mandate.” “To our knowledge, Mr Gandhi is in a position to appeal the verdict. It will then become clear whether this verdict will stand and whether the suspension of his mandate has any basis,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying by Deutsche Welle.
The trigger for the skirmish came from Congress’s Digvijaya Singh who, interpreting the remark and an opinion piece in a German media outlet as endorsement of his party’s “erosion of democracy” charge against the BJP government, tweeted his thanks.
BJP’s ‘foreign hand’ attack puts Cong on defensive
With the German foreign ministry saying it had “taken note” of the verdict against Rahul Gandhi, Congress’s Digvijaya Singh tweeted, “Thank you German foreign affairs ministry and Richard Walker@rbsw for taking note of how democracy in India is being compromised through the prosecution of Rahul.” The acknowledgment gave an opening to BJP which has been on the offensive against Rahul for his remarks in the UK where he had lamented that the West was oblivious to Indian democracy being undermined under BJP.
Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Anurag Thakur and Kiren Rijiju pounced on Singh’s tweet saying it validated their charge that Congress, frustrated by the string of electoral defeats, is rooting for intervention by foreign powers, forcing the party into damage control mode and seeking early disengagement.
Without naming Singh or referring to his tweet, AICC spokesman Jairam Ramesh tweeted, “Congress firmly believes that India’s democratic processes themselves have to deal with the threats posed to our democracy by Modi’s assault on our institutions and his politics of vendetta, intimidation, threats and harassment. Congress and opposition parties will take him on fearlessly.”