Vol. 5 Num 1022 Tue. April 17, 2007  

Break-up of Pakistan
Rahul remarks set off storm in India

Young Congress MP Rahul Gandhi's remarks at an election meeting in Uttar Pradesh state appropriating the credit for the Jawaharlal Nehru-Indira Gandhi family for the independence of India, break-up of Pakistan and creation of Bangladesh has set off a storm in political circles here.

The remarks also drew strong reaction from Pakistan whose Foreign Office spokeswoman alleged the utterances proves the charge that India "interfered" in Pakistan's internal affairs.

Rahul's remarks came under fire not only from India's main opposition BJP but also Communist Party of India and Samajwadi Party, which had laid support to the Congress-led government from outside even as Congress came to his defence saying whatever he had stated were historical facts.

Rahul, addressing an election rally at Bareilly on Saturday evening, had said that his family always fulfilled what it had set out to do, be it freeing the country from British colonial rule or breaking up of Pakistan or taking the country to the 21st century.

BJP spokesman Vijay Kumar Malhotra reacted sharply to Rahul's remarks and said "we would like to remind this young fellow that it was during the rule of the same family that agreements were signed with Pakistan to give back everything that our forces had won in that conflict (liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971)," an apparent reference to the return of 90,000 Pakistani prisoners of war.

He charged Rahul with showing disrespect to Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Allabhbhai Patel and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and other freedom fighters.