Amid the drama over government formation in Karnataka, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said the situation in the country was similar to that in Pakistan under “dictatorship”.
Addressing an event in Raipur, he alleged there was an atmosphere of fear in the country and the Constitution was under “severe attack”, with even the institutions such as the judiciary and the press being suppressed and threatened.
“The Constitution is under severe attack in the country… In Karnataka, the MLAs are on one side and the Governor on the other and you know what attempt is being made,” Gandhi said hours after BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa was sworn-in as the chief minister of Karnataka.
While the Congress-JD(S) combine in the state has been claiming a majority with the support of 117 MLAs, the BJP has 104 seats in the Assembly which has 224 elected members. The Karnataka governor had on Wednesday invited the BJP to form the government, a move which was challenged by the Congress in Supreme Court last night. However, the apex court refused to set aside the governor’s order till next hearing.
“The JD(S) leader has said its MLAs were offered Rs 100 crore,” the Congress president said, apparently referring to H D Kumaraswami who had made the allegation.
Gandhi said, “One after another, you can see in every democratic institution in the country,..the RSS is trying to induct its people.” He also attacked the Centre over the independence of the judiciary. “There is fear in the judiciary, there is fear in the press, and even the BJP’s members of Parliament are scared as they cannot speak a single word before the prime minister,” said Gandhi.
In the last 70 years, it was generally seen that the people approached the judiciary for seeking justice, he said. “But for the first time, it was seen that four judges of the Supreme Court appeared before the press and sought support from the public, saying they were being suppressed and not allowed to perform their duties.
“Such a thing was witnessed for the first time in a democratic country. It definitely happens under dictatorships, it happens in Pakistan, it happens in different African countries, (where) a general comes and suppresses the court and the press. But in India, it has happened for the first time in last 70 years,” Gandhi said.
He was apparently referring to the unprecedented press conference by four senior judges of the Supreme Court in January this year to express their grievances against the Chief Justice of India.