Congress leader Rahul Gandhi received heavy backlash on Twitter as he was slammed over his remarks on India’s democracy during an interaction with former US Under Secretary of State and Harvard University professor Nicholas Burns.

Gandhi made the remarks on Friday during an online interaction with Burns where the Congress leader alleged that there had been a “wholesale capture of institutions” in India by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government which did not let opposition parties operate with ease in the country.

Post BJP’s victory in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, institutions which were supposed to uphold fair political fight in the country were unable to do so anymore, he said, adding that when institutions did not perform their roles, then people were forced to opt for “mass action”, hinting at the ongoing farmers’ protests.

Gandhi’s comments drew flak from various political and non-political leaders in the country who slammed the Congress leader, saying that a “dynast” did not have the right to comment on India’s democracy.

Reacting to Gandhi’s request for intervention of the US government in Indian democracy, former Indian Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal said, “Astonished he should goad US to take adverse note of state of democracy in India, take such hallowed view of American democracy while decrying our own and implicitly suggest India not worthy of invitation to summit of democracies Biden proposes. And what game Nick Burns is playing?”

Zoho CEO Sridhar Vembu called Gandhi’s comments “unwise” and said that India and US must be friends on equal footing, and Indians must fiercely guard their sovereignty.

Naming Gandhi as a “dynastic scion” and calling his remarks “disgusting”, investor Harsh Gupta Madhusudan said that PM Narendra Modi had become the prime minister “despite the express opposition of foreign especially western powers” and “because the people of India wanted him to lead”.

Columnist Sunanda Vashisht said that it was utterly shameful of Gandhi to invite foreign intervention in Indian democracy just because he could not convince the people of his own country to vote for him. “Sonia Congress considers it normal to invite foreign intervention on domestic matters. Sonia Congress calls for foreign interference without batting an eyelid. Cong cannot blame people for not trusting them after that,” she said.

During his interaction with Burns, Rahul Gandhi also spoke about his father Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination in Tamil Nadu in the run-up to the 1991 general elections and said that it was this particular incident that had brought a change in him. “Of course, there were certain events that sort of pushed me… in a way, my father’s assassination was one of them that developed that sense that I felt that my father was fighting some particular forces and he was wronged. And so as a son, that of course, had an effect,” he had said.

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