Accusing the BJP and the RSS of trying to throttle and dismantle the Constitution by “stealth”, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said their leaders fold hands before B R Ambedkar but stab him in the back.
He alleged that the RSS is doing the same with Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy.
Rahul also alleged that the Sangh has penetrated every institution of the country, including the judiciary, the media, and the Army.
On Saturday, the Congress leader, who is in Madhya Pradesh as part of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, addressed a public meeting in Mhow, the birthplace of Ambedkar, on the occasion of the Constitution Day, along with Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge. He said the Constitution is not just a book but a living force, thought and voice, and that the RSS wants to “erase” that force.
Arguing that the Tricolour derives its strength from the Constitution, he said RSS did not unfurl the national flag at its headquarters for 52 years.
Midway through his speech, Rahul walked across the stage and paid floral tributes to a portrait of Ambedkar and said, “…they (BJP-RSS) will do this first. They fold hands before Ambedkar and then try to finish off the Constitution and tear it apart…the making of which Babasaheb devoted his life to…”
“This is their method. They will never be able to insult Ambedkar openly…they are doing the same with Gandhi. What was Gandhi’s message? He said don’t be afraid and don’t indulge in violence. What are RSS people doing now? Earlier they didn’t fold hands before him (Gandhi). Earlier they used to fold hands before Godse (but) today they are forced to (bow before Gandhi). They fold their hands before Gandhi statue and then erase his message of non-violence.”
He said RSS and BJP cannot destroy the Constitution openly, as they don’t have the courage for that. “The day they try to do that, the voice of India will stop them. So they are doing it by stealth,” the Congress MP said.
Stating that institutions such as Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, state Assemblies, the judiciary, bureaucracy, the media emerge from the Constitution, Rahul said that today, the “RSS is appointing their people in these institutions — judiciary, media, Army…every institution…. They have only one aim — to finish off the Constitution.”
Maintaining that hate and violence in society is an outcome of fear in the hearts of the ruling regime, he said, “My grandmother was shot 32 times. My father was killed in a blast. Violence was constantly perpetrated against me. Yet there is no fear in my heart; it is filled with love.”
Rahul said that while he is taking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the RSS, he has “no hatred for either Modi or RSS…because there is no fear in my heart. It is fear which creates hatred and division. So I will tell BJP, Modi, Amit Shah, RSS people…brothers, erase the fear; your hatred will disappear; your fear is causing damage to the country.”
Kharge, too, was scathing on BJP and RSS, whose leaders, he asserted, are trying to put religion above the country. He argued that everyone should put their religion and caste aside and fight for the country together.
In his address, Kharge said, “Dr B R Ambedkar, while handing over the Constitution to the President, had said that apart from enemies outside, we are going to have various political factions which will be enemies within the country. Dr Ambedkar had pointed out the working of RSS back then, and the need to save our country from this. He had said that the nation’s interest has to be kept above the interest of these various political factions.”
Kharge told the gathering, “Dr Ambedkar said that we all have to save democracy or else we would be slaves again. The RSS and the BJP want to end the Constitution but we have taken it upon ourselves to save it — the Constitution and democracy. A small mistake can cost us our freedom, the right to equality and fraternity.”
Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath and former chief minister Digvijaya Singh were also present. On Saturday, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and his Cabinet colleague T S Singh Deo were among top leaders who joined the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra.
In a statement issued on the occasion of Constitution Day, Kharge tore into the BJP-led government. “The Constitution that has successfully stood the test of time for over seven decades…faces a fundamental crisis, indeed an existential crisis for the spirit behind its text,” he stated.
“This crisis finds its roots in RSS’s ever-expanding reach within state institutions and the electoral (and by extension judicial) legitimacy of its ideology, with BJP being in power since 2014. The government has completely surrendered itself and its institutions to the diktats of RSS, an organisation that pushes hateful propaganda under the garb of social service. In fact, it is no longer incorrect to use the terms RSS and BJP interchangeably,” he said.
“Since coming to power, RSS has used the BJP as a political vehicle on every opportunity to curtail freedoms, enshrined in the Constitution. Illegal has become legal because the fringe has now become mainstream. The foremost tangible spirit of our democracy is being distorted and disrespected by people who are using it as a means to push a completely contrasting agenda. People who perpetrate RSS ideology are against the Constitutional guarantee of reservation to Dalits, Advisasis and Backward Classes,” he added.
Accusing the government of stifling dissent, Kharge stated that “mysterious deaths of judges; their urgent transfers before they were to pronounce judgments; or their hounding when they have stood against the government, hasn’t gone unnoticed by people of India….On the ground, the BJP-RSS cadre’s only alternative to constructive dialogue is violence. The natural instincts of this group and its messengers are only to subvert, and their only motivation is to divide the country along religious, caste and communal lines.”
“Children are given instruction in weapon training, in public spaces and institutions from a young age. Universities have been made a platform to propagate the partisan agenda of the ruling dispensation and strangulate any dissenting view. History books are being rewritten to suit and perpetuate BJP’s hateful agenda. There is moral surveillance in all public arenas. Privacy is being banished. Citizens and civil society have been mercilessly attacked by the topmost echelons of power, for raising their voice,” he maintained.
“We have reached a point where there is growing disharmony not just among people but also between governments and states. Ours is no longer a collaborative federal nation,” Kharge said.