‘No Anger’: Rahul Gandhi on Release of Rajiv Gandhi Case Convicts

Gandhi’s visit comes during a political crisis in Puducherry, with the Congress-led government losing majority.

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India
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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was welcomed by Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy and other Congress leaders.
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In a statement that has serious political implications in Tamil Nadu, Congress President Rahul Gandhi said on Wednesday, 17 February that he has “no anger or hatred towards” people responsible for his father’s killing. Gandhi was speaking at a public meeting in Puducherry as part of his election campaign in the Union Territory.

"I don't have anger or hatred towards anybody. I lost my father and it was a difficult time for me. I felt tremendous pain. But I don’t feel angry. I don’t feel hatred. I forgive," he said.

Operatives of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam had assassinated Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 when he was at Sriperumbudur in Kanchipuram district of Tamil Nadu. Seven convicts in the case including Perarivalan, have been demanding release on the grounds that they were not aware of the conspiracy to kill the then Prime Minister. Their request for release is currently pending with President Ram Nath Kovind.

Rahul Gandhi’s statement on “forgiveness” is expected to seal his recently found connect with Tamil Nadu, the convicts’ plight is an emotive issue in the state.

The Wayanad MP’s visit to Puducherry on Wednesday, 17 February, to kickstart the party’s election campaign, comes at a time when a political crisis is brewing in the union territory.

The leader was welcomed by Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy and other Congress leaders.

“We welcome our beloved Hon'ble MP Shri. @RahulGandhi ji with warmth, love and support to #Puducherry,” CM V Narayanasamy tweeted on Wednesday.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy and other Congress leaders.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy and other Congress leaders.
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/ @INCPuducherry)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi being  welcomed in Puducherry
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi being welcomed in Puducherry
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/ @INCPuducherry)

Gandhi’s visit comes during a political crisis in the Union Territory, with the Congress-led government losing majority, after a spate of resignations.

‘Farmers Are Backbone of Nation’

The leader started his campaign with an interaction with the farmers in the Solai Nagar beach shore.

“Government passed three bills against farmers, the backbone of a nation. You must be wondering why am I talking about farmers at a meeting of fishermen. I consider you as farmers of sea. If farmers of land can have ministry in Delhi, why is that farmers of sea don't have the same,” he asked.

Rahul Gandhi also expressed his wish to travel along with the fishermen in their boats to better understand their travails.

“The current government is attacking small and medium businesses because they want all businesses to be controlled by big corporations. Our view is different. We want to strengthen small and medium businesses because we believe that's the strength of this country,” he added.

'Is the L-G From Puducherry?:' Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi then addressed students of Bharatidasan college for women.

“If you're shutting up the nation, frightening people and not allowing them to talk, you're destroying the nation's character and destiny. No youngster should allow anybody to frighten them into silence. This is their power,” he said, while interacting with college students.

Later in the evening, he held a large gathering later in the evening at the AFT ground, where he will address the people of Puducherry. Police have been deployed all over the district to ensure security.

Rahul Gandhi took on Dr Kiren Bedi, who on Tuesday, 16 February night, was removed as the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry. Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan has been given additional charge as the L-G of the Union Territory.

“Is the LG from Puducherry? Did she grow up here? Or was she born here? Does she understand your tradition? Then on what basis does she run this place? Who gave her the right to decide for you?”
Rahul Gandhi, Congress President

Opposition Demands Floor Test

Meanwhile, the opposition in Puducherry, led by N Rangasamy, has demanded the resignation of Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, and also demanded a floor test challenging the Congress government to prove its majority in the Assembly.

After the resignation of four MLAs in the last month, the opposition pointed out that that the Narayanasamy-led Congress government has lost majority. However, the chief minister claims he has the numbers.

The Assembly is now 28 members strong with the Congress-DMK alliance and the opposition, both having 14 members now, one short of the majority mark of 15. The total strength of the House is 33.

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