New Delhi: The Congress party today launched an attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government, questioning why the country’s “chowkidar” was silent on issues of graft and weakening of institutions.
Addressing his party’s ‘Jan Aakrosh’ rally, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said the prime minister also did not speak on the case of Judge B.H. Loya and agrarian distress.
“Modi ji did not speak a single word on Doklam during his visit to China. What kind of prime minister is he?” asked Gandhi at the rally held at Ramlilia Maidan here.
Further targeting the prime minister, Gandhi sought to compare the performance of the governments led by his party with that of the Modi dispensation at the Centre.
“Prime Minister Modi gave unemployment, ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’ (the term the Congress coined for the Goods and Services Tax), BJP MLA inflicted atrocities on women (Unnao rape case) in his tenure,” Gandhi said.
Gandhi claimed the Congress united all sections of society and spread love in 70 years unlike the BJP, which allegedly attacked Dalits and minorities.
Gandhi charged that farmers were under stress, but their loans were not written off by the government, which, he added, waived of debts of corporate houses.
“I met him on the agrarian issues. But he did not listen to us,” the Congress president charged.
Gandhi exuded confidence that his party will emerge victorious in Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh assembly polls and defeat the BJP in the 2019 general polls.
He also said that the Congress will respect veteran and young leaders of the party alike and that it will allow different views to emerge. He was apparently referring to the remarks of senior party leader Salman Khurshid, who had recently said that there were Muslims’ blood stains on the hands of the Congress. The party had distanced itself from Khurshid’s views.
Gandhi also hailed Congress workers, saying they have laid their lives for “truth and the country” and described them as “sher ke bachhe” (lion cubs).
Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi too spoke at the rally, charging that the roots of corruption have become stronger in the NDA regime.
Hitting out at Modi, she questioned what happened to his “Na khaoonga, na khane doonga (will not engage in corruption myself, nor allow others)” slogan.
She blamed the government for muzzling dissenting voices, weakening institutions and dividing communities eyeing poll gains.
“Judiciary is passing through an unprecedented crisis. Media can’t play is role, it is being stopped from doing so…It is a sensitive phase we need to take seriously…we will fight this on behalf of the people,” she told the gathering.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sought support for the Congress and its president Rahul, saying the democracy of the country is in danger with the Modi government consistently undermining its constitutional institutions.
The former prime minister claimed the anger among all sections of the society has shot up in the last four years due to the rising threat to the safety and security of the people and the vanishing employment opportunities, which has left the youth worried.
Singh said pessimism is on the rise across the country, the law and order situation is bad and atrocities against minorities, Dalits and women are rising, but the Modi government seems hardly perturbed.
“The manner in which the Modi government is functioning, it can also pose a threat to democracy in the country. In the last few days, what happened in Indian parliament is before the people of the country (to see),” he said at the rally.
“It is clear from this that if the parliament does not function, it can pose danger to the democracy in the country. Democracy is a gift of the India’s constitution and we should all strive to strengthen it. Today such an atmosphere is being created where the constitutional institutions are being insulted. I talked about the manner in which parliament was not allowed to function and how the Budget was passed. The way the ‘no confidence motion’ by the opposition was not allowed to be taken up…all this is posing a danger to India’s democracy,” he said.
The former prime minister said what has happened in the banking sector with Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi having taken thousands of crores of loans and run away from the country, is for everybody to see.
“This is affecting the health of our banks,” he said.
He said the price of crude oil across the world was falling while in India the prices of petrol and diesel were constantly rising. He asked why this government was not working towards reducing the oil prices, which have put common man in great distress.
“The time has come that we support Rahul Gandhi in making this country a better place,” he said.
Talking about unemployment, he said it was on the rise as the Modi government has not created the much-promised two crore job opportunities, leaving youths and students, who had taken study loans, a worried lot in absence of jobs.