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Politics: Now, UP lawyer sues Obama for his ‘remarks’ on Rahul!

Virendra Pandit

New Delhi: As if the brickbats from post-election Bihar and the ‘G-23’ were not enough.

A caricature of its former glorious self, the 135-year-old Indian ‘National’ Congress continues to follow the tragic Greek mythological character Tithonus: bestowed with the boon of immortality but not of eternal youth, he continued to grow older and older without dying, until he turned into a cricket.

Now, an Uttar Pradesh-based lawyer has filed a civil suit against Barack Obama’s latest book, The Promised Land, in which the former United States President has referred to his interactions with ex-Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, making his observations public for the first time.

The lawyer, Gyan Prakash Shukla, has filed the suit in the Pratapgarh district, demanding that a First Information Report (FIR) be lodged as the book “insults” the Indian leaders and hurts sentiments of their followers.

Shukla, national president of All India Rural Bar Association, filed the civil suit in the Lalganj Civil Court, which has scheduled it for hearing on December 1, 2020, media reports said.

What Obama said about Dr. Singh and Rahul Gandhi is humiliating and an attack on the sovereignty of the country, he said.

Shukla claimed that millions of supporters of the two leaders were hurt by the remarks made in Obama’s book. If their followers take to the streets to protest against the book, it might lead to chaos.

The lawyer also threatened to go on fast outside the US Embassy in New Delhi if an FIR is not lodged.

In his memoir, Obama said that Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had picked up Dr. Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister because he posed no threat to her son Rahul, whom she was grooming to be her heir.

Obama also remembered Dr. Singh as a “man with uncommon wisdom”, who owed his position to Sonia Gandhi.

However, his ‘remarks’ about Rahul apparently embarrassed the Grand Old Party (GOP) no end, although no senior leader came out openly against the former US President.

According to Obama’s assessment, Rahul lacked “either aptitude or passion to master the subject”. He described Rahul as having “a nervous, unformed quality about him as if he were a student who’d done the coursework and was eager to impress the teacher but deep down lacked either the aptitude or the passion to master the subject”.

The Congress Party’s consistently poor performance in a series of elections has fanned dormant fires of factionalism. Some Bihar leaders criticized Rahul and his sister Priyanka for holidaying in Shimla while the party fought a crucial Assembly election in the state.

Several leaders, including Kapil Sibbal, Anand Sharma, and P. Chidambaram have also, time and again, raised leadership issues, prompting Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and others to virtually demand their expulsion from the party.