New Delhi:Upping its attack on the BJP, the Congress on Thursday accused the government of inventing a story on data theft to divert attention from key issues and likened law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.
In a multi-pronged attack on the government, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala alleged that it was managing headlines to deflect attention from issues such as the death of 39 Indians in captivity in Iraq.
While Gandhi accused the government of baiting the media, Surjewala said the law minister was spreading “lies and falsehood" so it could avoid giving answers in Parliament.
“Problem: 39 Indians dead; Government on the mat, caught lying. Solution: Invent story on Congress and Data Theft. Result: Media networks bite bait; 39 Indians vanish from radar. Problem solved," Gandhi said on Twitter.
“Hitler had a commander named Goebbels and now Narendra Modi has a minister named Ravi Shankar Prasad," Surjewala said, sharply escalating the verbal duel between the Congress and the BJP.
The Congress and the BJP have been engaged in a war of words over British data firm Cambridge Analytica (CA) and its Indians arms being engaged during past elections. The company is under a cloud after social media firm Facebook accused it of data theft.
While the Congress is accusing the BJP of using the services of the company, the BJP has hit back alleging that it is the Congress and its chief that have hired the services of the company. CA’s Indian arm Ovelina Business Intelligence (OBI) is run by JD-U leader K.C. Tyagi’s son Amrish Tyagi.
Seeking to corner the government, Surjewala posed a series of questions, asking for details on its links with the company. He denied that the Congress or its president Rahul Gandhi had hired the services of the company and used the colloquial phrase “chor machaye shor" to say that the BJP had no right to fling allegations against the party.
Union minister Smriti Irani follows CA on Twitter and the BJP’s former IT cell head Arvind Gupta had lauded work done by it on the microblogging site, Surjewala said at a press conference.
“The truth is that Modi government is denigrating and disrespecting the institution of Parliament. The truth is that the Modi government is running from accountability to Parliament.
“The truth is that Modi government is scared of replying to the relevant questions being raised by people of the country in front of Parliament and people," he said.
He said ‘no confidence motions’ were pending against the government but instead of considering them, Parliament was being adjourned. Bringing up the PNB scam and the deaths of 39 kidnapped Indians in Iraq, he said 132 crore people want to know how Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi ran away with the country’s Rs33,000 crore.
The government, he added, misled the country on those kidnapped in Iraq for four years. Surjewala also referred to agrarian distress, unemployment and the SSC paper leak scam.
“The Modi government does not want to answer these questions, that is why Parliament is not allowed to function... Instead, advice is being given to opposition parties and everyday new ‘fake agenda’ is prepared," he alleged. The BJP government, he added, has become a “manufacturer of fake news and an epitome of post truth".