‘Here is my free advice to him’: Sarbananda Sonowal rips into Rahul Gandhi over his remarks in US

Dibrugarh, June 22 (ANI): Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Sarbananda Sonowal addresses a meeting as a part of the party’s Maha Janasampark Abhiyan, at Duliajan in Dibrugarh on Thursday. (ANI Photo)

New Delhi [India], June 23 (ANI): Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways and Ayush, Sarbananda Sonowal, on Thursday, came down heavily on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his remarks during his recent visit to the US, questioning his “commitment to serve” the country.
Offering “free advice” to Rahul on serving the nation with utmost and complete commitment and dedication to the country, Sonowal said, “Rahul Gandhi made some remarks on his recent visit abroad, showing the country in poor light. One doesn’t expect such remarks from a leader, who claims to be serving the country. If Rahul Gandhi, truly, wants to serve the country, then here is my free advice to him: if you love your country, the first and foremost duty is to serve the country with complete commitment and devotion.” Sonowal was addressing a huge public meeting organised as part of BJP’s ‘Maha Jan Sampark Abhiyaan’ on Thursday in Assam’s Dibrugarh.
Targeting the Congress further, the senior BJP leader said, “Unlike the Congress, the BJP espouses an ideology, which centred around the idea of serving the country. Our founding fathers said that all the BJP karyakartas are bound by one powerful ideology — nation first, party second and self last. This is what makes the BJP a party with a difference. The Congress, in contrast, thrives on the politics of discrimination and division.”
Sonowal added that the Congress has betrayed the country and its people through such remarks on foreign soil.
Weighing in on issues concerning national politics during an interaction with journalists at the National Press Club in Washington DC during his visit, Rahul Gandhi claimed that press freedom was under threat back home and the world could see the same.
Opening up on the issue during a free-wheeling conversation with scribes in the US capital, Rahul said press freedom is very critical for a functional democracy and one should be open to criticism. He alleged that there was a clampdown on the institutional framework, which enabled national discourse.
“There is definitely a weakening of press freedom in India. It is apparent in India and the rest of the world can see it too. Press freedom is very critical for a democracy. One should be open to criticism. There is a clampdown on the institutional framework that allowed India to talk and Indian people to negotiate. I view India as a negotiation between its people, between different cultures, languages and histories. Mahatma Gandhi set up the framework to enable that negotiation fairly and freely. That structure, which allows this negotiation, is coming under pressure,” Rahul said.
He alleged a “definite capture of institutions and press” back home.
“I don’t believe everything I hear. I walked across India and spoke to millions of Indians, they didn’t seem very happy to me. They agreed that there were serious issues such as inflation,” Rahul said.
Addressing the Indian diaspora in California, Rahul took a jibe at PM Modi also, saying that some people in India have the “disease” of being under the impression that they know everything.
However, speaking further on India’s elevated status on the global stage, Sonowal said, “Under the dynamic leadership of Narendra Modi-ji, India has enhanced its status as a growing economic power contributing to the world economy. ‘Seva, Sushashan and Gareeb Kalyan’ are the keywords that have defined the nine years of government under PM Modi-ji. This has not only brought positive changes to the country but has also enhanced the stature of India on the global stage. Yesterday, the whole of the world joined India in performing Yoga with the aim of enriching the quality of life.”
“Our pride, Gamosa, continues to enthral the world as PM Modi-ji performed Yoga with our traditional wear around his neck. This is the vision of Modi-ji — to take and celebrate the rich heritage of India and help make a healthier world or Swastha Bharat. I am confident that this journey of India’s holistic development will continue as the BJP will win the belief of the public and commit itself to the service of the nation,” he added.
Sonowal also highlighted public welfare schemes of the Modi government since 2014, saying, “Through the various public welfare schemes and their proper and effecting implementation, allowing the benefits to reach the last citizen, the government under PM Modi-ji has achieved much more towards nation building and helping our citizens improve their quality of living. The six decades of misrule of the Congress cannot even compare to five per cent of what nine years of the Modi government has achieved in people’s welfare. Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna, PM Fasal Bima Yojna, Ayushman Bharat, Make In India, Digital India, Ujjwala yojna, Jal Jeevan Mission, PM Jan Dhan Yojna and many more such welfare programmes have helped people across all levels of the society. From financial inclusion to the convenience of service, from LPG supply to water supply, from infrastructure development to economic growth, India has made forward strides. There is a stark difference between pre and post-2014 India,” the Union minister added.
Speaking on Assam and Northeast, Sonowal said PM Modi has always given top priority to the progress and development of Assam and the ‘Seven Sisters’ (Northeast).
“Modi-ji identified our region as the ‘Asta Lakshmi’ of India. The Northeast is poised to power India’s growth under Modi-ji in the coming days. Gone are the days when the people in the Northeast lived in despair due to the indifference and apathy of previous Congress governments,” the minister added.
Sonowal exhorted party workers to get ready for next year’s Lok Sabha elections by strengthening the party from the booth level.
He also called upon the party workers to carry out massive public awareness campaigns to spread the word on the welfare programmes of the Narendra Modi government. 

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