Congress president Sonia Gandhi Wednesday delivered a scathing critique of the Narendra Modi government, accusing it of “destabilising institutions and polarising society” and “trampling upon the Constitution”.
Addressing a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party, Sonia alleged that “opaqueness” of the government’s decision-making process and “brazen promotion of cronyism” has cast a “dark shadow” on its integrity.
Talking about the ongoing unrest in Jammu and Kashmir, the Congress chief said that recent events in the Valley are tragic and pose a grave challenge to the country. Stating that there can be no compromise on national security and militants must be dealt with firmly, she said, “Yet we must ask ourselves what has driven scores of young people to such levels of anger and protest — even violence.”
“Can we say in all honesty that we have responded with sincerity to their pleas? They are our people, we cannot forsake them,” Sonia said. “Manmohan Singh’s government had done a tremendous amount of good work, along with (making) a serious effort to open and sustain a dialogue. Sadly, that is no longer the case.
We must respond with restraint and sensitivity to the harsh realities of recent months.”
She also said that the Central government has sought to create a “bubble of achievement” in the face of facts to the contrary. While job creation has been at its lowest in six years, retrenchment of industrial workers and loss of thousands of jobs in the manufacturing sector has caused misery to the youth and the poor, she said. Exports are on a continuous decline while power shortage continues to be endemic despite claims that the country is turning power surplus, she said.
Pointing out that prices of essential commodities, especially food items, are at an all-time high, Sonia said, “The Modi government’s hollow claims on inflation have been exposed recently by no less than the RBI Governor.”
She said, “We are presented with a government that is anchored in slick marketing events, in glib marketing slogans, in repackaging, in embellishment and exaggeration…. (But) deception is not new to this ruling party. They are skilled at ignoring facts, at propagating false claims and orchestrating unsubstantiated charges against the opposition, especially the Congress.”
Referring to the Rajya Sabha election in Haryana and the developments in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Sonia said, “The Modi government’s project of destabilising institutions and polarising our society has played our with renewed vigour to the detriment of Constitutional values. The Modi government has mistaken its Parliamentary majority for a licence to impose its narrow ideology on our people.”
“The government,” she said, “seems to have forgotten that Parliamentary majority can never be a reason to abandon the principles and practice of constitutionalism.”
Questioning the Prime Minister’s foreign policy, the AICC president said, “How does the Modi government explain the incoherence and inconsistency of its foreign policy despite the PM’s frequent travels abroad, his equally frequent embraces of world leaders and impromptu birthday calls? Its policy towards Pakistan oscillates between one extreme and the other…. Its ill-prepared policy on the NSG membership has exposed us to a snub and is in complete contrast to what the UPA achieved in 2008.”
“The government seems to be changing our country’s stand on security and defence, departing radically from policies that have stood the test of time.”
Sonia asked Congress MPs to be active, aggressive and hold the government and its ministers to their words and actions.