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Rahul Gandhi stokes row by calling Manipur as one of the most beautiful states of 'Indian Union' (WATCH)

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who visited Manipur on Monday, has stoked a fresh controversy by referring it as "one of the most beautiful states of the Indian Union."

Rahul Gandhi stokes row by calling Manipur as one of the most beautiful states of 'Indian Union' (WATCH) snt
First Published Jul 9, 2024, 1:46 PM IST

Leader of Opposition Rahul Gandhi, who visited Manipur amidst escalating violence between the Meitei and Kuki communities on Monday, has stoked a fresh controversy by referring it as "one of the most beautiful states of the Indian Union." The Congress leader's statement has drawn sharp criticism for its implications on India's federal structure and national unity.

Netizens argue that his use of the term "Indian Union" is misleading and potentially divisive, contrasting it with the sovereignty framework of the European Union.

Also read: Maharashtra temple uses Rahul Gandhi's image as doormat to protest anti-Hindu remarks, sparks row (WATCH)

"Rahul Gandhi's reference to 'Bharat' or 'India' as the 'Indian Union' is misleading and harmful. Unlike the European Union, our states are not sovereign. Such statements undermine our national integrity! The vision of this man is very dangerous for our national integrity!" remarked Vishnu Vardhan Reddy, BJP's Andhra Pradesh state vice president, on X.

Others echoed similar sentiments, accusing Gandhi of promoting a narrative that could undermine the cohesive fabric of the nation. "On being asked about his idea of Manipur, Rahul Gandhi turns around and says that 'Manipur is a state of the Indian Union'. We are not the Indian Union, but India. May sound frivolous to some, but this needs an urgent BJP response," expressed another user on X.

The controversy intensified further with calls for clarity and corrective action from political rivals. "Why is Rahul Gandhi calling 'Bharat' or 'India' as the Indian Union? We are not the European Union, and states are not sovereigns here, so what exactly is Rahul Gandhi trying to imply? The LoP can't be allowed a free hand like this—parliamentary and political scrutiny needed," remarked a third irked netizen.

Amidst the furor, questions lingered about the implications of Gandhi's statement on India's federal governance and national identity. "What does he mean by Indian Union? India is a sovereign country. India is not like the European Union," voiced another critic, reflecting broader concerns over the potential ramifications of Gandhi's remarks.

On Monday, Rahul Gandhi emphasized the need for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to personally intervene and assess the situation. He expressed disappointment over the lack of improvement in conditions since his last visit, underscoring the gravity of the humanitarian crisis.

"The PM should have visited the state long back. It is important that he visit Manipur. I request him to come to Manipur and try and understand what is happening here... It will comfort the people. Congress is ready to support anything that would improve the situation," the Raebareli MP told a press conference in Imphal.

“This is the third time I come here since the problem started. It has been a tremendous tragedy. I was expecting some improvement in the situation. But I was quite disappointed to see that the situation is still nowhere near where it should be," he added.

Gandhi visited Manipur weeks after ethnic violence erupted on May 3 last year. Beginning his 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' from the state in January 2024, this marked his first visit since assuming the role of Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and following the Congress's victory in both Lok Sabha seats in Manipur.

Also read: Jairam Ramesh faces backlash for comparing 'non-biological' PM's Russia visit to Rahul Gandhi's Manipur trip

During his visit, Gandhi expressed his intent to listen to the concerns of those affected by violence and to instill confidence in them. As an opposition leader, he pledged to exert pressure on the government to take decisive action.

"I want to tell all the people of Manipur (that) I came here as your brother, as somebody who wants to help you, wants to work with you to bring back peace in Manipur. I am ready to do whatever I can, Congress party is ready to do whatever it can to bring back peace here," he said.

“The state is completely split in two and it is a tragedy for everybody involved. The entire state is suffering. If we start to think about peace and affection, it will be a very very big step for Manipur," the Congress leader added.

“Indian government and everybody who considers himself a patriot must embrace the people of Manipur. We expressed to the governor that we would like to help in whatever way we can. We also expressed our displeasure. We are not happy with the progress that has taken place here. I don’t want to politicize the issue, it is not my intention," Gandhi said.

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