Union Minister and BJP's national general secretary Bhupender Yadav today slammed Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, saying using the term 'thief' for an entire community is a misuse of freedom of speech. As the grand old party prepares for a protest march against the conviction of Mr Gandhi for his "why do all thieves have Modi as (their) common surname" remark, Mr Yadav questioned whether they are marching to demand the right to insult the OBC community.
"There's a difference between criticism and abuse, they are different. He has abused the entire OBC community," he told NDTV.
Mr Yadav said never has a national leader abused someone on the basis of a surname. This can disturb communal harmony, he said, adding that it was against the constitutional right for everyone to live with dignity.
"How can an entire community be thieves? Rahul Gandhi has insulted the entire OBC community by calling them thieves. He has broken all political decorum," Bhupender Yadav said.
Refusing to comment on Rahul Gandhi's automatic disqualification from the Lok Sabha, he said there's an independent judicial process in the country and the case was going on for four years.
"Is this not an insult to the country's judiciary as well?" he said on the Congress's allegation that it's not just a legal issue, but a political one as well.
"We need to develop a political understanding in this country that no politician has the right to abuse the OBC community," Mr Yadav said.
He further called Mr Gandhi a repeat offender, who is alleged is "lowering the political discourse" in the country.
Rahul Gandhi was found guilty of defamation for a 2019 campaign trail remark implying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a criminal. However, he was granted bail and his sentence was suspended for 30 days to let him appeal the decision.