The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued a notice to Rahul Gandhi over the matter of his citizenship after a complaint was filed with the ministry by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy. A response has been sought within 15 days.
“It has been further brought out in the complaint that in the Company’s Annual Returns filed on October 10, 2005, and October 31, 2006, your date of birth has been given as June 19, 1970, and that you had declared your nationality as British. Further, in the Dissolution application dated 17/02/2009 of the above-referred company, your nationality has been mentioned as British,” the notice said.
The Congress party and the opposition claim that it is merely an attempt to distract people from the issues that plague the country. Rahul Gandhi’s sister, Priyanka, appeared particularly vicious. “The whole of India knows that Rahul Gandhi is an Indian. People have seen him being born and grow up in India. Kya bakwaas hai yeh?” she told reporters.
Randeep Surjewaala, the spokesperson of the Congress party, echoes similar sentiments. “The entire world knows Rahul Gandhi is Indian citizen by birth. Modi ji has no answer for unemployment, Modi ji has no answer for agrarian distress&black money, that’s why he’s resorting to fake narrative through his govt’s notices to divert attention,” he said.
There appears to a certain unity among the opposition parties in the matter. D Raja of the CPI, which is contesting against the CongressRJD alliance in Bihar, said, “Rahul Gandhi has been issued a voter ID. Then why is there confusion over his citizenship? The timing of issuing this notice to the Congress president is questionable.”
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, however, dismissed such allegations and maintained that the ministry was following the normal course of action. He said, “When a member of Parliament writes to any ministry, action required on their query is taken. It is not a big development, it is a normal process.”
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on MHA notice to Congress President Rahul Gandhi over citizenship: When a member of Parliament writes to any ministry, action required on their query is taken. It is not a big development, it is normal process. pic.twitter.com/nziFJzg801
— ANI (@ANI) April 30, 2019
It is telling that Rajnath Singh, the Home Minister of India is calling this a routine process and not a ‘big development’. Rajnath Singh has reiterated that when a member of parliament writes to a ministry, the required action on their query is taken. This would thus make this process a simple procedure that Rahul Gandhi can deal with rather easily by simply explaining the questions raised by Subramanian Swamy.
The citizenship row began in 2015 when Swamy cited documents pertaining to a company Backops Limited where Rahul Gandhi was the Director. In the said documents, the Congress President’s nationality was mentioned as British. Since then, the matter has been a cause of great dispute.
In November 2015, the Supreme Court dismissed a petition filed by lawyer M.L. Sharma demanding a CBI inquiry into the matter. The highest court of the country deemed the petition ‘frivolous’. The following year in January, another BJP MP Maheish Girri filed a complaint with the Lok Sabha speaker, Sumitra Mahajan, regarding Rahul Gandhi’s citizenship. As per the rules, she forwarded it to the Ethics Committee.
Two months later, in March, the Ethics Committee headed by veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani issued a notice to Rahul Gandhi over the matter but nothing much came of it. It was later reported that not a single meeting was held in this regard. Since then, the matter was in a political potboiler until recently when an independent candidate from Amethi filed a complaint with the Election Commission over the matter. The EC, however, found no reason to disqualify the Congress President.
And today, it was reported that a notice has been sent to Rahul Gandhi by the MHA following a complaint by Subramaniam Swamy. It remains to be seen what happens in the future. Thus, it appears quite obvious that the MHA hasn’t really taken any vindictive action but merely sought Rahul Gandhi’s reply considering a complaint was filed by a Member of Parliament regarding his citizenship.