Disability rights activist slams Rahul Gandhi for senseless attack on Modi surname

Disability rights activist Virali Modi today slammed Congress President Rahul Gandhi for his senseless attack on Modi surname. Rahul Gandhi had stated earlier that the surname Modi is synonymous with crony capitalists citing the example of Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi.

Rahul Gandhi in the Congress plenary had mentioned in his speech that as Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi share the same surname with the PM, the surname Modi symbolises the collusion between the PM and the biggest crony capitalists of India, which was in itself a misplaced a comparison.

Rahul Gandhi’s statement was widely criticised by many. Social media users have come out citing names of several prominent and successful individuals who have the Modi surname and have worked for the betterment of society. Modi is a common Gujarati surname and Rahul Gandhi’s deliberate attempt to paint all Modis as corrupt was widely criticised.

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Virali Modi’s name was cited by many in response to this insensitive statement by Rahul Gandhi. Virali is a Mumbai based disability rights activist who has been working on making railways more disable friendly for years. Virali faced harassment by porters while trying to get on a train in Mumbai in 2008 and had initiated a petition to the Ministry of Woman and child welfare to take disable friendly measures. The Delhi Commission for women has last year presented her an award for her contributions. Last year in February, Southern Railways chief commercial manager Ajeet Saxena had released an official order to make foldable wheelchairs and ramps available to passengers with a disability in railway stations and many railway stations have since adopted this initiative. The then railway minister Suresh Prabhu had also assured that India’s trains and stations would soon be made disabled friendly.

Virali herself expressed her anger and displeasure on her surname being generalised as that of crony capitalists and tweeted in protest. She stated that she had been working for a better life for people with disability and Rahul Gandhi’s insensitive assumptions have made her sad.

Virali further added that the people with positions of power and are capable of making a difference are failing to recognise her efforts due to their narrow mindsets.

Virali has received wide support in social media and people have praised her dedication and hard work as a rights activist.

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