External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday took a swipe at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his remarks in the US, saying that he refrains from indulging in politics when he goes abroad and will argue “vigorously” on his return to India.
While not naming Rahul Gandhi, Mr Jaishankar said, “I may differ strongly with someone but how I counter it … I would like to go back at home and do it. And watch me when I get back.”
The External Affairs Minister was interacting with the Indian community during his visit to Cape Town to attend the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
After Mr Jaishankar’s address, a round for questions was opened for the members of the Indian community.
A member of the Indian community, without naming Rahul Gandhi, asked Mr Jaishankar what he would like to say about remarks made by “someone” in the US.
To that, the minister said, “Look, I say that I can only talk for myself. I try, when I go abroad, not to do politics abroad. For this, I’m perfectly prepared to argue and argue very vigorously at home.”
He also said that democratic culture has a certain collective responsibility like working for the “national interest” and for a “collective image”.
“There are sometimes things bigger than politics and when you step outside the country, I think that’s important to remember,” Mr Jaishankar said, in an oblique reference to the Congress leader.
Earlier, on Wednesday, Rahul Gandhi targeted the BJP-led government the Centre at an event in the United States saying “what is happening to Muslims in India today, happened to Dalits in the 1980s”.
Speaking at the ‘Mohabbat Ki Dukaan’ event in San Francisco, Rahul Gandhi alleged that the impact of some actions of the BJP-led government was being felt by minorities and people from the Dalit and tribal communities and it has “to be fought with affection”.
“It is being felt by the Muslims most directly because it is done most directly to them. But in fact, it is done to all communities. The way you (Muslims) are feeling attacked, I can guarantee Sikhs, Christians, Dalits, and tribals are also feeling the same. You can’t cut hatred with hatred., but only with love and affection,” Mr Gandhi said.
“What is happening to Muslims in India today happened to Dalits in the 1980s. In the UP of the 1980s, this happened to Dalits…We have to challenge it, fight it and do it with love and affection and not with hatred, and, we will do it,” he added.
The Congress leader is on a six-day visit to the United States. During the event in San Francisco, Rahul also spoke about “economic inequality” saying that while some people were finding it difficult to make ends meet, “five people have lakhs of crores”.