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JNU row: Ashok Chavan slams BJP for criticising Rahul Gandhi

Chavan's press conference in Mumbai

Mumbai : Riled by BJP’s criticism of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for “supporting anti-nationals” over JNU row, senior leader Ashok Chavan today said the ruling party at the Centre and RSS have polarised the political discourse into “patriots versus anti-nationals”.

“An environment of patriots versus anti-nationals has been created in the country by the BJP and the RSS. Anybody who disagrees with their views is branded as an anti-national. Now, to remain a patriot you have to be handed a character certificate by the BJP and the RSS, or else, you become an anti-national,” said Chavan, the state unit Congress president.

Pouring sarcasm, the former CM said that only those who are handed out “character certificates” by the BJP and the RSS have remained patriots while the rest are anti-nationals in eyes of government.

“There are specific reasons behind targeting Rahul ji (Gandhi). His (Gandhi’s) intention was to ensure that there is no injustice happening with students and thus he went there (JNU) to listen to their problems,” Chavan told reporters.

He said though Gandhi used democratic ways to lend his support to students, he was falsely branded as one who supports anti-nationals.

Gandhi has already dismissed the charge, saying patriotism is in his blood.

Referring to the assassinations of former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, Chavan said while the BJP and the RSS have no history of taking part in the freedom struggle, the Congress leaders have shed their blood for the nation.

“They (BJP and RSS) should not forget that it was during the Congress’ regime that (Parliament attack convict) Afzal Guru, was hanged. They are also trying to hide the fact that it was their ally (in Jammu and Kashmir) PDP that had created a row by asking for his (Guru’s) body when Narendra Modi is Prime Minister,” he said referring to the demand for returning of mortal remains of Guru raised by some leaders from Valley last year.

Against the backdrop of a Union resolution wherein all 46 Central Universities will fly the tricolour atop a 207-feet tall flag mast on their campuses, Chavan said, “the BJP will not succeed in portraying itself as a nationalist party by unfurling the tricolour atop universities unless there is social harmony in the country”.

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