With riots in Delhi, ‘Raj Dharma’ back in political discourse?

New Delhi: The word ‘Raj Dharma’, which in year 2002 was used by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and which kept haunting the BJP for years to come, is now back in the news except for this time, the word is weapon for both the BJP and the Congress.

The controversy started after the interim Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Thursday after meeting the President Ram Nath Kovind advised that Home Minister Amit Shah should be sacked for “abdicating” his duties and both the Centre and Arvind Kejriwal’s government in Delhi had been “mute spectators” to the communal clashes.

“Rashtrapati ji, you are given the highest possible responsibility under the Constitution of India: to act as the conscience keeper of this Government and to remind it of its Constitutional duty and the pillars of Raj Dharma, by which any just government must abide,” the Congress had said in a memorandum to the President.

The advice did not go down well with the BJP and the Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad who on Friday urged Gandhi to “not to preach raj dharma”.

Reminding letters written by Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi advocating citizenship to the persecuted, the BJP asked Sonia Gandhi to introspect.

Re-discovering the phrase ‘Raj dharma’, Prasad asked, “You talked about ‘aar paar ki ladai’ from Ramlila ground. Isn’t that incitement? What kind of Raj dharma is this?”

Commenting on Priyanka Gandhi’s remarks, Prasad accused Gandhis of inciting people. “Sonia Gandhi, please don’t preach us Raj dharma. your track record is full of twists and turns for political reasons,” said the Law Minister.

Now in a fresh turn to this, on Saturday morning Congress hit back with another “Raj Dharma” tweet where the former Law Minister, Kapil Sibbal tweeted, “How can we Mr. Minister? When you did not listen to Vajpayeeji in Gujarat why would you listen to us! Listening, learning and obeying Rajdharma not one of your Government’s strong points!”

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