While in the United States, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has made headlines for his scathing criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP-led Centre.
Gandhi has been criticized by the BJP for his outspoken comments, and on the second day of his visit to the United States, the saffron party discovered new ammunition to use against the former member of parliament.
Shehzad Poonawala, a spokesman for the BJP, posted a video on Twitter purporting to show Rahul Gandhi participating in an NRI outreach organized by the Congress. Poonawala asserted, “During the national anthem, fifty percent of the audience that Rahul addressed did not even bother to stand.”
Later, they suspended the national anthem in the midst and announced that it was merely a “Mic Check.”
Poonawala demanded an explanation from the Congress regarding the purported incident. “It is the responsibility of Rahul Gandhi’s organizing team to explain if and why this disrespect occurred. Which audiences denigrate the National Anthem! No Indian would.. is Anthem being used for Rahul’s audio check?
Anil K Antony, son of former Union defense minister AK Antony, who deserted the Congress and joined the BJP in April of this year, tweeted the video earlier.
Anil K Antony wrote, “Half empty venue where 80% of the crowd is sitting or disrespectfully lounging with their hands in their pockets while India’s national anthem is being played.”
He claimed that the disrespect for the Indian national anthem was “not surprising” given that the event was co-coordinated by anti-India organizations with purported “radical Islamist ties.”
The Congress has not yet responded to the allegations made by the BJP.
During his three-city tour in California, Rahul Gandhi will interact with the Indian diaspora and meet with American legislators. Overseas Congress chief Sam Pitroda stated that the purpose of Gandhi’s visit is to promote shared values and a “real democracy” vision.