INDIA disturbs Modi, name change panic reaction, says Rahul in Belgium

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Friday that the debate around the country’s name that erupted on social media following the G20 Summit invitations going out in the name of the “President of Bharat” are “panic reactions” and “distraction tactics” by the government.

Gandhi also said such controversies seem to play out every time his party raises concerns of “crony capitalism”.

The dinner invitation from President Droupadi Murmu to foreign leaders attending the G20 summit this weekend comes in the name of “President of Bharat”.

It triggered a war of words on social media, with Bharatiya Janata Party leaders clashing with the Opposition and several celebrities and sports personalities also wading into the row.

Addressing a media conference in Belgium’s capital Brussels, the Congress MP claimed that the Opposition naming its alliance Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance has “disturbed” Prime Minister Narendra Modi enough that he wants a name change for the country.

“I’m perfectly happy with the names that we have in our Constitution. India, that is Bharat, works perfectly well for me,” he said when asked which name he prefers.

“But I think these, in a sense to me, are panic reactions. There’s a little bit of fear in the government. These are distraction tactics,” he said.

“We of course came out with the name I.N.D.I.A. for our coalition, and it’s a fantastic idea because it represents exactly who we are, we consider ourselves to be the voice of India and so the word works very well. But it’s obviously disturbed the Prime Minister enough that he wants to change the name of the country, which is absurd, but that’s what it is,” Gandhi said.

“It’s also interesting that every time we raise the issue of Mr Adani and crony capitalism, the Prime Minister comes out with some dramatic new diversion tactic. It’s curious that just after I did a press conference on Adani, this entire diversion was put into place. It’s interesting,” he added.

Gandhi on Thursday sought a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into reports that Adani family associates secretly invested “hundreds of millions” in the company through opaque investment funds based in Mauritius.

The debate around the country’s name was one of several topics raised with Gandhi during his media interaction in Belgium, the first stop on his European tour which next covers France followed by the Netherlands and Norway.

Gandhi said the idea behind the tour was to have an “exchange of ideas” on global issues with European parliamentarians, interact with the Indian diaspora in these regions and also shed light on some of the challenges faced by India.

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