UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday accused the Modi government of having bluff, bluster and intimidation as the governing philosophy, adding that truth and transparency have been brazenly tossed aside during his rule.
“There is an all-pervasive atmosphere of fear and strife across the country. The Northeast is burning. Alienation in Jammu and Kashmir has scaled new heights. Dalits, Adivasis and minorities are being targeted. Farmers are facing unprecedented distress. The youth is staring at the abyss of despair with jobs being destroyed on a scale that has never happened before. Bluff, bluster and intimidation have been the governance philosophy of the Modi government. Truth and transparency have been brazenly tossed aside,” she said.
Gandhi also said that the Modi government had hounded political opponents and institutions had been subverted.
“The very foundations of our democratic republic, of our secular republic, have come under systematic assault by the Modi government. The very values, principles and provisions of our Constitution have come under continued attack by the Modi government.
“Dissent has been suppressed. Freedom of speech – the most basic of all freedoms – has been sought to be curtailed and silenced. People with opinions different from the ruling establishment have been victimised,” she said.
Gandhi said Parliament itself had been immeasurably weakened as debates and discussions were muzzled.
“The institution of Standing Committees has all but disappeared. The route of the Money Bill, described by one Supreme Court judge as a ‘fraud on the Constitution’, has been resorted to ever so often to escape legitimate scrutiny in both Houses,” she said in her address.
Attacking the BJP for misleading people, she said: “There is now near-universal recognition that the mandate of 2014 has been betrayed. I look upon this slightly differently. That mandate itself was obtained by deceit and dishonesty, by misleading the people. It was inevitable that it would be found out and exposed sooner or later. That is exactly what has happened.”
She said the victory of the Congress in the Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections had given a new hope and the party will contest the coming Lok Sabha polls with renewed confidence and resolve.
“Our opponents were earlier projected as being invincible. The Congress President took them head on, mobilizing and motivating lakhs of our workers who, with him, gave their all. We won in what were believed to be their strongholds. That demonstrated our resilience. The people of our country are wise. They know that ‘jumlabaazi’ is no substitute for sensitive and responsive governance.”
Continuing the attack on the Modi government, she said people know that imagery, stage management and marketing gimmicks can be no substitute for responsible and accountable governance.
“Our political adversaries have unlimited resources at their command. They have no scruples and will stoop to anything to ensure that our forward march is halted. We will not allow them to succeed. We will confront them, we will fight them with all the vigour at our command and more.
“We must remember that unity, self-sacrifice, and self-discipline are vital at all times. They are of even greater importance today – at this crucial moment of our nation’s history,” she said.
Later, Gandhi thanked party leader Mallikarjun Kharge for his contributions as the leader of the Congress Party in the Lok Sabha, saying “he stood like a rock for his right to be heard in the face of clear bias”.
“These last five years have been very trying times. But all of you MPs in both Houses have done the best possible under the most difficult of circumstances. I know it has not been easy because democratic space — which is ours by right — has been deliberately denied to us. But we have persevered and for that I congratulate all of you, senior and younger colleagues.”
Gandhi also said that party President Rahul Gandhi had brought fresh energy into the party.
“He has put together a team which blends experience and youth well. He has worked tirelessly. He has also reached out to other political parties who share our vision of India, who share our agenda for faster economic growth with full social justice, who share our agenda for the welfare of kisans (farmers) and khet-mazdoors (farm labourers), women and youth, workers in the organized and unorganized sector.”