Updated: August 2, 2021 7:27:37 am
State Congress President Nana Patole on Sunday said the condition of the country under PM Narendra Modi’s government was “no better than what it was during the British Raj”.
Launching Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee’s fortnight-long campaign “Vyarth Na Ho Balidan (The sacrifice should not go to vain)” to commemorate 75 years of India’s Independence, Patole said the present Central government was “exploiting the citizens of the country to fill the coffers of a few businessmen”, adding that “those who are raising their voices against the situation are being targeted and punished, the way the British government did with the freedom fighters.”
The event, held at Pune’s Kesari Wada, the premises from where Bal Gangadhar Tilak ran his daily Kesari, was attended by senior city Congress leaders, including Vishwajeet Kadam, Abhay Chhajed, Mohan Joshi and Ramesh Iyer.
Patole also criticised Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari for “taking a political stance” and “criticising national leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru”.
“Nehru is the architect of modern India. Governer Koshiyari said that Nehru was responsible for destroying India. Congress condemns the remarks of the Governor. His is a post that should not take political sides. However, Koshiyari has turned the Raj Bhavan into a BJP office,” said Patole.
“During the Independence struggle, the Congress leaders fought against the oppression by the British. Today, the time has come to fight against the oppression of Modi government. Under BJP rule, right to freedom of expression is being curbed. Any media house exposing the misdeeds of the government is being targeted. The latest target was Dainik Bhaskar. The government is trying to subvert the Constitution,” said Patole.
As part of its “Vyarth Na Ho Balidan” campaign, the Congress will put up hoardings across the city displaying pictures of the Non-Cooperation Movement, Civil Disobedience Movement and Quit India Movement among others. The hoardings will also include pictures of Mahatma Gandhi being imprisoned in Yerwada Jail during the Quit India Movement as well as Tilak’s famous “Swaraj is my birthright” speech.
‘I am a hardliner, like the faction in the pre-Independence Congress’
Patole said that many politicians, including some in his own party, view him as someone who takes a strong stance on issues and makes strong statements. He said that in the pre-Independence Congress party, there were two groups of leaders — “Mawal faction” (moderates), which had leaders such as Gandhi, Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Gopal Ganesh Agarkar, and “Jahal faction” with Tilak and Lala Lajpat Rai.
“I am from the latter group. I am a hardliner, and I believe that for the battle that lies ahead of us today, we will need both moderates and hardliners,” said Patole.
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