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Campaign-Banned Parvesh Verma Refers to Rajiv Gandhi as ‘Rajiv Feroze Khan’, Leads Jai Shri Ram Chants in Parliament

File photo of BJP MP Parvesh Verma

File photo of BJP MP Parvesh Verma

Vowing that the ruling BJP would never roll back the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act, Parvesh Verma said this is not the government of 'Rajiv Feroze Khan'.

New Delhi: BJP MP Parvesh Verma, banned by the Election Commission from campaigning for spewing hate ahead of Delhi elections, referred to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi as ‘Rajiv Feroze Khan’ in the Parliament on Monday.

Initiating a debate on the Motion of Thanks on the President's address at the start of the Budget session, Verma sought to propagate the lie that Indira Gandhi had married a Muslim, and hence, the Gandhi family is Muslim, but is hiding its religion.

The historical distortion that Indira Gandhi married a Muslim named Feroze Khan, converted to Islam and took on a Muslim name, but was then induced by her father (Jawaharlal Nehru) to change her name to Gandhi, has often been alleged by various BJP members.

To set the record straight: Indira Nehru had married Feroze Gandhi, who was from a Parsi-Zoroastrian family from Allahabad.

The BJP lawmaker’s wrongful assertion comes amid BJP’s communally charged campaign for the Delhi elections, in which the party has sought to expand Hindu-Muslim faultlines by dubbing the predominantly Muslim anti-CAA protesters at Shaheen Bagh as “pro-Pakistan, anti-India and traitors”.

Vowing that the ruling BJP would never roll back the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act, he said: “This is not the government of Rajiv Feroze Khan. This is the government of Narendra Modi.” The implication was perhaps that the Rajiv Gandhi government had in 1985 enacted a law to overturn the SC judgment in Shah Bano case because he was a Muslim.

Opposition members, including those from the Congress, had walked out of Lok Sabha when Verma started to speak. He started his speech by leading chants of ‘Jai Shri Ram’, saying that it washes off people’s sins.

Verma, who represents West Delhi in Parliament, further alleged that the people staging a sit-in in Shaheen Bagh were not really protesting against CAA, but were talking about the murders of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. “They want Jihad. They want ‘Jinnah wali Azadi’. They say ‘Pakistan Zindabad’,” he alleged.

In an indirect challenge to the Election Commission’s authority, he further said that he was banned from campaigning for four days because he said he was against Shaheen Bagh, but those who say they are with Shaheen Bagh are not banned, in a reference to Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia.

The entire speech, ostensibly initiating the Motion of Thanks on the President’s address, revolved on the Delhi elections.

Verma was banned from campaigning on Thursday after he attacked the protests at Shaheen Bagh, saying, “Lakhs of people gather there (Shaheen Bagh). People of Delhi will have to think and take a decision. They’ll enter your houses, rape your sisters and daughters, kill them. There’s time today, Modi ji and Amit Shah won’t come to save you tomorrow...”