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“It was a choice”: Congress on Mallikarjun Kharge skipping the I-Day ceremony at the Red Fort and attending party event

Kharge reportedly claimed that his valuable time would have been lost if he had gone to attend the ceremony at Red Fort and he would not have been able to participate in the functions at the party headquarter.

On Tuesday (15 August) India is celebrating its 77th Independence Day. As per the traditional ceremony, PM Modi unfurled the Indian flag from the ramparts of Red Fort. Several dignitaries graced the event, including Union Ministers and Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud. However, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge’s absence at the Red Fort event triggered a fresh controversy, particularly after several party leaders admitted that it was a conscious choice to ‘prioritise’ the party event over the renowned gracious National ceremony. 

Initially, there were reports that the veteran Congress leader had to skip the Red Fort event as he was unwell. However, Kharge went ahead to attend a party event at the Congress headquarters where he also delivered a speech to party workers.

Following this development and taking a cue from the initial reports, BJP National Spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla took a dig at Congress leaders for prioritising party event over the apolitical national ceremony. Taking to X, Poonawalla said that he is glad at the speedy recovery of the Congress President. 

Seeing the controversy brewing, Congress President Kharge tried to explain the rationale behind skipping the nationally important apolitical event. Stamping his authority on the initial reports, he admitted that he had some eye-related problems and was short on time. He claimed that his valuable time would have been lost if he had gone to attend the ceremony and he would not have been able to participate in the functions at the party headquarter. 

Asserting that it was a conscious choice to skip the Red Fort event, Kharge said, “Considering the lack of adequate time, I made the decision not to attend the event at the Red Fort. It was a choice made considering both security concerns and the constraints of time.”

Congress leader Rajeev Shukla reiterated that the party President skipped the Red Fort event as he was busy and had to attend events at the Congress Headquarters.

Congress party’s Chairman of the Media and Publicity Department, Pawan Khera argued that can’t a political leader prioritise a party event over the national ceremony?

Union Minister Anurag Thakur lambasted the Congress party-led opposition alliance. He argued that skipping the gracious event highlighted the mindset of the Congress party and asserted that opposition is like a fish without water.

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