Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday took a veiled dig at the BJP-led government at the Centre as she wondered whether the ‘forces of darkness’ were trying to destroy the roots of democracy. Addressing the Lok Sabha on the occasion of Quit India Movement anniversary, the Congress president said, “We will not allow the idea of India to be a prisoner to narrow mindedness and communal ideology. Today it looks secularism and free speech are in danger. If we have to preserve freedom, we’ll have to defeat forces endangering it. We can’t and we won’t allow sectarian forces to succeed,” she said.
She also said that during freedom struggle Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru spent several years in jail, many Congress workers died in jail. “A lot of atrocities were committed on the protesters, but no one stepped back. We must not forget that some organisations opposed the Quit India Movement, such organisations have no role in freedom struggle.”
Sonia also indicated that secularism and free speech were in danger, adding that if India needed to preserve freedom it needed to defeat forces endangering it. “There’s politics of divide and if we have to preserve freedom, we’ll have to defeat forces endangering it,” she said. She added that questions are being raised whether forces of darkness are again raising their head, whether attempts being made to destroy democracy.
Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi’s address to Lok Sabha on Quit India’s 75th anniversary – Part 4 pic.twitter.com/g1oelMOJDy
— Congress (@INCIndia) August 9, 2017
Although the Congress president did not explicitly name any leader or party in her remarks, RSS seemed to be the likely target, as the Congress has often accused it of playing no role in the freedom movement, a charge denied by it.
A few minutes before the Congress president’s speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi too spoke about the country’s freedom struggle when he said, “Our freedom not only about India but a defining moment in ending colonialism in other parts of the world. Poverty, lack of education, malnutrition big challenges for our nation; We need to bring a positive change.” The Prime Minister further added: “There were so many highs and falls in the movement, but 1942 was the final ‘jan-sangharsh’. It led to the realization that ‘abhi nahin toh kabhi nahin’ (If not now, then never).”