India

Amid Rajasthan Crisis, Rahul Gandhi Announces His Own "Mann Ki Baat"

Amid Rajasthan Crisis, Rahul Gandhi Announces His Own

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted against "hate-filled narratives" today

New Delhi:

Hours after Sachin Pilot's open revolt left the Congress government in Rajasthan mired in chaos and uncertainty, Rahul Gandhi finally spoke up on Monday evening - but only to lash out at "parts of the Indian news media... captured by fascist interests" and spreading "hate-filled narratives".

Mr Gandhi's cryptic tweets made no direct reference to the drama in Jaipur that saw the party nearly lose its second state - to the BJP - in less than four months. The Gandhis - Rahul and Sonia - have still not met Mr Pilot, who is encamped in Delhi, for a face-to-face many believe could bring a favourable end to the crisis.

Instead, the former party chief only declared he would make the "truth" about "our current affairs and history clear and accessible" via video messages starting Tuesday.

"Today a large part of the Indian news media has been captured by fascist interests. A hate-filled narrative is being spread by television channels, WhatsApp forwards and false news," Rahul Gandhi said, adding, "This narrative of lies is tearing India apart".

"I want to make our current affairs, history and crisis clear and accessible for those interested in the truth. From tomorrow, I'll be sharing my thoughts with you on video," the message concluded.

Many have understood the message to mean Mr Gandhi will launch his own version of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Mann ki Baat" - a monthly radio address to the nation.

The Congress attempted something similar last year - in October the party said it would air "Desh ki Baat" on social media.

Both Mr Gandhi and the Congress have repeatedly accused the government of sowing dissension by spreading "fake news", particularly via WhatsApp groups and forwards, and acting as "fascists".

Last week he tweeted: "Mr Modi believes the world is like him. He thinks everyone has a price or can be intimidated. He will never understand that those who fight for the truth have no price and cannot be intimidated".

Mr Gandhi has been relentless in his criticism of the Prime Minister and his administration, particularly since 20 Indian soldiers were killed by Chinese troops in a face-off in Ladakh. Mr Gandhi has also accused the Prime Minister of lying to the nation and surrendering Indian territory.

The Lok Sabha MP has also held video interactions with Nobel Prize-winning economist Abhijit Banerjee and former RBI chief Raghuram Rajan over the economic impact of the coronavirus lockdown.