Returning Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s fire, Congress Parliamentary Party chief Sonia Gandhi yesterday accused his government of creating an atmosphere of fear, damaging democratic traditions and eroding pluralistic nature of the society, and said the people and the country were “deeply troubled”.
Addressing a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party here, she accused the Modi government of allowing polarisation of society for political gains and said there would be similar attempts in Karnataka, which goes to polls later in 2018.
Sonia’s attack on Modi and his government came a day after the Prime Minister launched a blistering attack on the Congress in both the Houses of Parliament during the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address.
She said the “arrogance and dishonesty” tells everyone that the Modi government “lives by its own propaganda and lies”.
“We need no further evidence of this than the prime minister’s speech in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday morning.”
Terming it as “maximum marketing, minimum delivery” government, she said the ruling alliance was out of touch with reality and was recycling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) schemes.
Sonia made several sharp attacks at the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, saying the Union budget was full of “sleights of hand” and asked why it was not giving price details of the Rafale fighter deal.
Referring to the death of Justice B H Loya, she accused the government of refusing “to respond to wholly justified demands to satisfactorily investigate certain sensitive legal cases of far reaching political consequence”.
Sonia said the nearly four years of Modi government has been a period in which institutions that are at the foundation of the country’s democracy “have come under systematic assault – Parliament itself, the judiciary, the media and civil society”.
“Investigative agencies have been let loose against political opponents. An all-pervasive atmosphere of fear and intimidation has been created. Liberal, secular and democratic traditions are being wantonly damaged. The pluralistic nature of our society – which has been its strength for centuries – is being eroded,” she said.
Sonia said minorities were feeling unsafe and being subjected to barbarous attacks and Dalits and women have come under renewed and widespread atrocities.
“In many cases this violence, especially against the minorities and Dalits, is not sporadic or random but orchestrated to polarise our society for narrow political gains.
“We saw this in both Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. We will no doubt see it again in Karnataka. Such polarisation is criminal in a democracy, yet those in power look the other way,” she said.
“As we look around us, we see a deeply troubled country and deeply troubled people,” she added.
Sonia said tall claims were being made of so-called economic achievements, but agriculture continues to be in “deep distress” and the desperation of farmers is evident in the number of suicides.
She said new jobs were not being created and existing ones were being lost.
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