TARGETING THE Narendra Modi government, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said on Monday that democracy is going through “one of its darkest hours” under the present dispensation, saying the government is seeking to “silence all those who disagree” while “hiding behind the cloak of national security”.
“Asking questions is what discomforts this government the most for they have no answers,” he said, addressing the Congress Working Committee meeting.
“The Modi government is obsessed with power, it seeks to silence all those who disagree. Hiding behind the cloak of national security, civil society is being intimidated for asking questions. Television channels are being punished and asked to shut down.
The opposition is being arrested for holding the government to account. Democracy, under the present dispensation, is going through one of its darkest hours. All attempts by this government to suppress our fundamental freedoms by abusing state power will only strengthen our resolve to defeat such dangerous designs,” he said.
The CWC, in a resolution, resolved to resist “undemocratic methods and acts to curtail liberty, freedom of expression and violation of fundamental rights of the citizen as enshrined in the Constitution” and spoke about “concerns of the citizens and the media over growing intolerance, centralisation of authority, arbitrary and partisan decisions, abuse of power, and misuse of government agencies to target political opponents, critics and institutions.” Rahul made it clear that the Congress would raise these issues in the Winter Session of Parliament.
“The government has swung from one extreme to another in dealing with Pakistan and the issues concerning Jammu and Kashmir. In recent months, our jawans have suffered the highest casualties in decades. They are being cruelly ‘rewarded’ by a callous government with denial of OROP (one rank-one pension) and cut in disability pensions,” he said. While Rahul was silent on the surgical strikes, the CWC resolution asked the government to “observe restraint and discretion and give up its crude attempts to gain political advantage out of an essentially military action.”
False claims, chest-thumping and jingoism have no place in a mature democracy, especially on matters concerning the defence of the country, it said. It accused the government and the BJP of trying to whip up hysteria and create a division in the polity on an issue on which the whole nation stood united.
Rahul said with state polls round the corner, the Modi government could launch a “campaign of disinformation and polarisation”.
“They will exploit caste and religious faultlines. We must anticipate and neutralise such devious strategies,” he said.
Rahul also reiterated his “suit-boot” line of attack of the Modi government. “Atrocities against Dalits go unabated. The rights of Adivasis continue to be trampled upon. Selectively chosen corporates are favoured, not the aam aadmi. Farmers’ suicides and agrarian unrest have increased to astonishing levels. The government is trying to hide its failures behind numbers that have been widely doubted and questioned,” he said.