Thursday, June 20, 2024

Congress takes ‘party apparatchik’ jibe at India’s envoy to Ireland. Here’s what happened

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The Congress on Tuesday sharply criticised India’s ambassador to Ireland Akhilesh Mishra, over his remarks criticising the previous Indian governments and praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA dispensation in a rejoinder to The Irish Times’ editorial on the upcoming Indian general elections.

Indian Ambassador to Ireland Akhilesh Mishra(X/ @AkhileshIFS)

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Responding to a post by the Embassy of India, Dublin, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said that for Mishra to attack the opposition as a mere party apparatchik (someone who works for a government or a political party and always obeys orders) was not expected by a high-rank official.

“Defending the Government of India is one thing and is to be expected. But to attack Opposition parties openly in this manner like a party apparatchik is not expected from an Ambassador even if he be a political appointment. This is unprofessional and disgraceful behaviour on his part-but is par for the Modi course I guess,” he said in a post on X.

Ramesh further sought Mishra’s removal, claiming that his behaviour breached the service rules.

“I stand corrected. This Ambassador is actually a career diplomat which makes his comments even more shameful, disgraceful and completely unacceptable. He has actually breached service rules and should be sacked right away,” he added.

The Congress leader’s remarks came hours after the Indian envoy remarked in his “rejoinder” to an editorial published in The Irish Times over what the embassy said was a “highly biased and prejudiced editorial, casting aspersion on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Indian democracy, law enforcement institutions & ‘Hindu-majority’ people of India”.

In the rejoinder, Mishra said, “Further to ‘The Irish Times’ view on the Indian election: Modi tightens his grip” (April 11th), Indian prime minister Narendra Modi enjoys unprecedented popularity and profile not only in India but globally because of his impeccable personal character and integrity and thought-leadership on innovative, inclusive governance and sustainable development.”

“The fight against the deeply entrenched ecosystem of corruption (created by the 55-year-old rule, including the first 30 years, by a single dynastic party in India) is a major factor behind Modi’s ever-growing popularity,” he said.

The editorial titled, ‘Modi tightens his grip’ on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, dated April 11 in The Irish Times, criticised PM Modi for “widespread crackdown on free speech and opposition parties”. “India’s democratic credentials have been severely tarnished,” the article, citing Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest and the freezing of Congress’ bank accounts, read.

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The newspaper further said that PM Modi’s embrace of Hindu nationalism has stoked anti-Muslim sentiments.

“An intolerant Hindu-first majoritarianism is the order of the day, sustained by a BJP populist welfarism that has a strong appeal among the country’s poor,” the newspaper read.

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