Wed. Oct 4th, 2023

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday hit out at the Congress and said its president Mallikarjun Kharge skipping the Independence Day function at the Red Fort shows that the opposition party cannot think beyond “dynasty”. On Kharge citing “paucity of time” and traffic restrictions for not attending the function, the ruling party said the Congress could have tweaked the timing of its programme.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the occasion of Independence Day, a chair reserved for Kharge, who is also the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, was seen empty.

Kharge, who unfurled the national flag at his residence and later at the Congress headquarters, later said he could not have reached his party office in time from the Red Fort.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur told reporters that Kharge not attending the Independence Day functions at the Red Fort shows the Congress’ mindset.

“By calling people of the country ‘rakshas’ (demon)… the Congress showed how it looks at the people in democracy. Now, when our country’s main opposition party leader, who is also the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, does not come on the 77th Independence Day, you can imagine what is the mindset of the Congress,” he said.

“Their thoughts were different when they were in power. Today, when they are sitting in the opposition, they are yearning for power like fish out of water,” he said.

Replying to a post on X, formerly Twitter, by Congress leader Pawan Khera in which he defended Kharge, BJP IT Department head Amit Malviya said the timing of party programmes can always be tweaked.

“Thank you for saying what we always knew — Congress puts party before the Nation.

“The programme at Red Fort is a collective celebration when the entire nation comes together. Timing of the party program(s) can always be tweaked,” Malviya said.

“In any case, you now have at least five more years to learn and improve. Hopefully, Congress thinks beyond party and dynasty in times to come,” he said.

In his post, Khera said it is apparent that the BJP is “upset” that Kharge was not present for Modi’s speech at the Red Fort but does the Prime Minister realise that his route arrangements would have made it impossible for the Congress leader to reach the party headquarters in time for the flag hoisting.

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