Rahul thought my black cap was linked to RSS: Koshyari

Rahul thought my black cap was linked to RSS: Bhagat Singh Koshyari

The former Uttarakhand chief minister has been associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. Credit: PTI Photo

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari took a swipe at Rahul Gandhi on Saturday as he recalled that the Congress leader believed that the black cap, a traditional headwear from Uttarakhand, he wears was linked to the RSS and thought Hindutva ideologue Veer Savarkar was from the Sangh.

Speaking on the launch of his book Bhartiya Sansad Main Bhagat Singh Koshyari, the former Uttarakhand chief minister, who has been associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, also said the government will have to deal with the kind of situation witnessed in Parliament's last session when people like him, a reference to Gandhi, are leading the opposition.

Before Koshyari's speech, Union minister Piyush Goyal had slammed the opposition's conduct in the session as he lauded the Maharashtra governor's "sincere and dignified" role as an MP in Parliament. He must be feeling pained at what happened in Parliament, Goyal said.

Read more: Suspense over Chhattisgarh CM issue still looms due to lack of clarity from Congress high command

The Monsoon Session was a virtual washout as a united opposition disrupted its proceedings through except for the discussion on a bill linked to the Other Backward Classes. Rajya Sabha also witnessed a debate on Covid-19.

Noting that opposition members torn papers, threw papers at the Chair and allegedly manhandled marshals, the government has accused them of unruly conduct never seen before. The opposition has accused the government's unparliamentary conduct for the impasse.

In his speech, Koshyari said many people would react seeing his black cap in a same way as a bull does when shown a red cloth.

"Rahul Gandhi asked me (then BJP MP) why do you wear a black cap? I told him people wear it in Uttarakhand. He says 'no, no, you are from the RSS'. I said I am from the RSS but the cap is from Uttarakhand. People have been wearing it there before the RSS was born," he said.

A few months later, the Congress leader again enquired him about the cap while he was chatting with some MPs in Parliament, Koshyari said.

"He again asked me why you wear a black cap... He said this is a RSS cap. I told him that I had said earlier too this is not a RSS cap. He still insisted. I asked him have you read anything about the RSS? He said 'yes, yes, I have read Savarkar'... Piyush ji you will have to live with this din and everything when such people are in leadership," he added.

Though Savarkar is a Hindutva ideologue, he was never in the RSS.

While the 79-year-old leader mocked at Gandhi, he praised Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.

During a parliamentary debate on environment, Ramesh, who was the environment minister then, urged the Chair to give him more time to speak as he liked the content, Koshyari recalled.

When the Chair disallowed the request, forcing the BJP MP to wrap up his speech, Ramesh came to him and said that he would reply to debate the next day instead of the same day as scheduled.

He told Koshyari to speak what he could not say during the speech while seeking clarification on his reply, the former BJP leader said.

While he feels disappointed at the state of Parliament, Koshyari said and named several leaders, many former opposition stalwarts, for their rich contribution to debates in the past and expressed confidence that people will elect members who will restore its earlier glory. 

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