Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi slammed the Congress, its allies and the ecosystem they created for standing up against Parliament and accused them of remaining silent on Pakistan’s atrocities against that country’s minorities, Congress leaders on Thursday hit back, saying that the Prime Minister is using the bogey of Pakistan and “fake nationalism” to hide his failures.
Congress’s leader in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, alleged that Modi is trying to fulfill Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s unfinished “two-nation theory”, and had Jinnah been alive today he would “perhaps have been the happiest person, seeing that what he had failed to do Modi is trying to achieve”.
Criticising Modi for raising Pakistan to hit out at the Opposition, former Union minister Manish Tewari said, “The Prime Minister has fallen into the habit of reducing everything to a brainless binary. Whenever he is cornered, he labels everybody as Pakistanis.”
Raise your voice against persecution of minorities in Pak, says PM.
Reminding Modi that the Congress had opposed the citizenship Bill in Parliament, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma argued that it is not “opposition to Parliament but the Opposition (parties) in Parliament opposed to the government’s agenda”.
He said: “It is wrong on part of the Prime Minister. He lacks respect for the institution of Parliament. He ought to be told that in Parliamentary democracy you cannot have one view, one party, and one ideology. Bills are voted unanimously and contested and challenged as well. We challenged it (the Bill) and we opposed it. How can he say that we are against Parliament?”
Chowdhury told The Indian Express: “In the new year, countrymen expected something new from the Modi government. But the government and Modi continue to sing the same monotonous litany on Pakistan and fake nationalism.”
He said Jinnah had conceived the two-nation theory but failed to implement it. “Now Modi has picked up the baton in order to achieve the two-nation theory. It will spell disaster for our country’s future,” he said.
To Modi’s barb that the Congress is silent on Pakistan’s atrocities against its minorities, Chowdhury said, “History knows what the Congress has done to Pakistan.”
He said, “It is very easy and convenient to raise the bogey of Pakistan. Every Indian knows that Pakistan is our enemy, so Modi does not have anything further to discover about Pakistan. We are fighting against Pakistan since Independence; Modi was not in power at the time. We defeated Pakistan thrice; Modi was not even in politics then. Modi had not fought the war.”
Stating that Pakistan is India’s “arch-enemy since Independence”, he asked why Modi is silent on China.
Chowdhury said, “…China has been and still raises the issue of Kashmir in international forum…why has Modi never uttered anything against China? It (Beijing) is constructing a road through PoK. Why does Modi prefer to remain reticent on China and vociferous on Pakistan? Because Modi does not have the guts to raise voice against China.”
On the PM’s remarks that the Congress and its allies are standing up against Parliament, Tewari said, “It is unfortunate that the Prime Minister does not seem to have read the Constitution of India. While the Constitution created Parliament, it also inserted Article 19 into the chapter on fundamental rights, which gives both freedom of speech and expression and the right to dissent. Both are not mutually exclusive.”
He told The Indian Express, “Whenever the Prime Minister is concerned, he raises the bogey of Pakistan to demonise his political and constitutional opponents. The Prime Minister should understand that we are not against giving refuge to the persecuted, but in a constitutional democracy compassion – and not religion – has to be the basis for that refuge and citizenship,”
Sharma said: “The Congress does not need any certificate from Modi about speaking against Pakistan… He came to office in 2014. Before that who was taking up the matters (against Pakistan) – whether at the UN or human rights commission? It was the Congress government. Let him not forget that it was Indira Gandhi who dismembered Pakistan, and Bangladesh was created.”
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