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Rahul to BJP: Bring on the defamation suits

Shivraj Singh Chouhan had objected to Rahul’s reference to his family’s alleged involvement in the Vyapam scam and Panama papers

By Sanjay K Jha in New Delhi
  • Published 31.10.18, 2:34 AM
  • Updated 31.10.18, 8:26 AM
  • 2 mins read
Rahul Gandhi addresses an election meeeting in Dhar, Madhya Pradesh, on Tuesday. PTI

Congress president Rahul Gandhi has dared the BJP to slap as many defamation suits on him as it can, stepping up his attack on corruption and recounting the story of the downhill journey “from achchhe din to chowkidar chor hai”.

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had on Monday objected to Rahul’s reference to his family’s alleged involvement in the Vyapam scam and Panama papers and threatened to file a defamation case.

Chouhan had tweeted: “Mr Rahul Gandhi, you have been making patently false allegations of Vyapam to Panama Papers against me and my family. Tomorrow, I am filing a criminal defamation suit for maximum damages against you for frivolous and malafide statements. Let law take its own course now.”

On Tuesday, his son Kartikey Chouhan filed a criminal defamation suit in Bhopal under Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code. Kartikey, a law student in Mumbai, said: “I am aggrieved as Rahul deliberately made the false allegation to defame my family’s image. He defamed us in a childish manner.”

Rahul, who had at a public rally in Jhabua referred to several cases including Vyapam, e-tendering and the Panama Papers while alleging the involvement of the chief minister’s family, admitted his mistake on Tuesday in a clarification that would have made the BJP angrier.

The Congress president told journalists in Indore: “I have been touring Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh for the election campaign. The BJP has done so many scams that I got confused. In the Panama Papers, Madhya Pradesh chief minister’s son has no role, the name of Chhattisgarh chief minister’s son has come up.”

Rahul didn’t refer to the controversy in his first public rally of the day in Dhar but later, at a rally in Khargone, he said: “Kal bada gussa ho gaye chief minister, maine Vyapam ki baat kari toh (The chief minister got very angry yesterday when I talked of Vyapam). Threatened to file a defamation suit. File as many cases as you can. All of Madhya Pradesh knows the chief minister’s family is involved in Vyapam, e-tendering, sand mining. It makes no difference to me. He destroyed the future of youth here.”

Rahul continued: “First, the chief minister does a Vyapam and then plots his escape. Lagao jitney case lagane hai (File as many cases as you want). Today, a tribal, a farmer’s son can’t pass exams as he can’t pay bribe. For admissions in institutions of higher education, money has to be paid to the CM’s friends. Everybody knows many people who had motorcycles now move around in private jets. Chouhan is not concerned with people’s welfare, he only thinks about Vyapam, e-tendering, dumper, sand mafia… kal do-teen defamation aur karna (File two-three more defamation cases tomorrow). ”

More belligerent than before, Rahul said: “Four years ago, Modi used to say ‘achchhe din’ and people responded with chants of ‘aayenge (will come)’. Now after four years, I say ‘chowkidar’ and people respond, ‘chor hai’. Why this change? This happened because Modi broke people’s trust, he betrayed them.”

To prove his point, the Congress president shouted: “Chowkidar”. People at the rally responded, “chor hai”.

Rahul then narrated the Rafale story, reeling out facts of the deal with the French company, and finally reached the midnight CBI drama.

He said: “Why was the CBI director handpicked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself removed in a midnight operation? Because, the chowkidar got frightened.

He knows his and Anil Ambani’s name will come if an inquiry is done. The CBI director was about to order an inquiry.”

The Congress president repeatedly returned to bank loan defaulters Mehul Choksi, Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya, saying: “They said bye-bye from hawai jahaz and are having fun in foreign countries. Farmers, tribals, youth helplessly watch them from the ground.”