New Delhi: An author has threatened the Congress with legal action in Singapore if it doesn’t withdraw a video it tweeted of a public interaction between him and Rahul Gandhi at a prestigious university.
In the video posted by the Congress, Prasenjit K Basu, the author of Asia Reborn, is seen posing a question to the Congress president during an interactive session.
With political discourse hitting new lows everyday, Congress President Rahul Gandhi shows how to gracefully handle detractors and call their bluff. #RGinSingapore #IndiaAt70 pic.twitter.com/OnTJz0kzUx— Congress (@INCIndia) March 8, 2018
“Why is it that during the years that your family ruled India, India’s per capita income was growing less than the world average? And yet, in the years since your family relinquished the prime ministership of India, India’s per capita income has grown substantially faster than the world average,” says Basu.
The video then cuts to another member of the audience praising the Congress. “I am a great admirer of you great-grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru and I think all the good things… wherever India is today is because of the Indian Congress Party. And even in the Constitution… your party has very successfully put the values of the Congress party into the Constitution.”
In his response to both, Rahul Gandhi says, “You are both going to extremes. I mean give me something in the middle. I mean he (Basu) is saying I am the cause of every single problem. And you (second speaker) is saying I am the cause of every single solution. I mean, this is crazy.”
“This conversation shows you the polarisation. That gentleman (Basu) thinks that nothing has ever been done by the Congress party. This gentleman (second speaker) thinks that everything has been done by the Congress party. Let me tell you what the truth is. India’s success is hugely because of India’s people. However, anybody in this room who thinks that the Congress is not part of that success… needs to write a new book.”
“I am a person who has been taught to love my opponents and people who might dislike me. So I have absolutely no animosity towards somebody who says I have achieved nothing. I respect even your opinion to be able to say that in this room… I am proud to sit in a room and have a gentleman say this to me. Mr. Narendra Modi would never do that. You would never have the ability to say what you said to me in front of Mr. Narendra Modi. I am absolutely brazenly proud of that,” Gandhi says.
At the end of the video, Gandhi even invites Basu for a “hug”.
Basu, however, contested the Congress’ version of the events. Replying to the tweet, Basu said, “This is a classic fake-news video. You are using my image to falsely advertise your politician, showing a sequence of events that did not occur. Withdraw this false video, or prepare for prosecution in Singapore’s courts!”
This is a classic fake-news video. You are using my image to falsely advertise your politician, showing a sequence of events that did not occur. Withdraw this false video, or prepare for prosecution in Singapore’s courts!— Prasenjit K. Basu (@PrasenjitKBasu) March 8, 2018
Basu later quoted a video tweet by another user, saying, “Here’s the full video of my succinct question to RaGa, and his repeated failure to answer.”
Here’s the full video of my succinct question to RaGa, and his repeated failure to answer: https://t.co/DVLLUzLbrH— Prasenjit K. Basu (@PrasenjitKBasu) March 8, 2018
The Congress, however, defended the video posted by the party. Speaking to News18, party leader Milind Deora said, “I don’t know what this gentleman (Basu) is talking about. But there were two questions. One questioned what the family had done and the other said that the Congress has contributed. Rahul answered both questions deftly. So I don’t know what the controversy is about.”
“Also, on a larger level, the PM often talks about India as a great power but the BJP says nothing has happened in last 70 years. There is a mismatch and dichotomy in these statements,” Deora said.
Hitting back, BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said, “Even his own party leader Siddaramaiah doesn’t want him to campaign in Karnataka. The Congress is terrified of Rahul Gandhi and would do well to keep him abroad.”