In Punjab for a few days to protest against the recently passed Farm Acts, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday fielded questions from the press. Rahul has repeatedly made headlines recently - from the Gandhis' visit to Hathras to his presence at a tractor rally in Punjab and the press conference proved to be yet another talking point.
While the north-western state has seen massive protests since several contentious farm bills were passed, former BJp ally, the Akali Dal has been critical of the ruling Congress. As such, the SAD has questioned Rahul's absence in the Parliament when the farm bills were passed.
However, upon being questioned by a reporter, Gandhi was quick to shut down critics.
"My mother had gone for a medical checkup and my sister couldn't go with her because some members of our staff had COVID-19. So that is why I was with my mother....helping her through a medical checkup. I'm her son also after all...and I have to look after my mother," he told the reporter.
For the uninitiated, Sonia Gandhi had gone to the United States for her routine medical check up on September 12, two days ahead of the Monsoon session of Parliament. The two had returned on September 22.
Rejecting the suggestion that the Central government was able to take unilateral decisions because of a weak opposition, Rahul on Tuesday said, "Give me free Press and other key institutions and this (Narendra Modi) government will not last long".
Pointing out that the opposition in any country functions within a framework, including the media, the judicial system and institutions that protect the voice of the people. "In India, that entire framework has been controlled and captured by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, the entire architecture designed for giving voice to the people has been captured," he added.
(With inputs from agencies)