New Delhi: Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi lashed out at the Narendra Modi government Wednesday, saying “bluff, bluster and intimidation” had been its governance philosophy.
Gandhi, the leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP), was addressing a meeting of party MPs.
Saying the “mandate of 2014 has been betrayed”, she added that the “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,” Gandhi said.
She also weighed in on the success of the Congress in the recent assembly elections, where the party reclaimed three states of the Hindi heartland, and praised her son Rahul Gandhi for “taking the opposition head on”.
She credited Rahul, the Congress president, with bringing in “fresh energy” into the organisation, for working “tirelessly”, and even reaching out to other political parties “who share our vision of India, who share our agenda for faster economic growth with full social justice”.
“We go to the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls with renewed confidence and resolve,” Gandhi said. “Our victories in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh have given us new hope. Our opponents were earlier projected as being invincible. The Congress president took them head on, mobilising and motivating lakhs of our workers who, with him, gave their all,” she added.
We are deeply grateful to our readers & viewers for their time, trust and subscriptions.
Quality journalism is expensive and needs readers to pay for it. Your support will define our work and ThePrint’s future.
“We won in what were believed to be their strongholds. That demonstrated our resilience.”.
Gandhi termed the five years of the Narendra Modi government as “trying times”, but congratulated Congress MPs for doing the “best possible under the most difficult of circumstances” in both Houses.
“I know it has not been easy because democratic space — which is ours by right —has been deliberately denied to us,” she added.
Slamming the government for weakening Parliament and muzzling debate and discussions, she added that the institution of Standing Committees had “all but disappeared”.
“The route of 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.
She added that truth and transparency had been “brazenly tossed aside” under the Modi government, and institutions subverted as well.
“Political opponents have been hounded. Dissent has been suppressed. Freedom of speech — the most basic of all freedoms — has been sought to be curtailed and silenced,” she said. “People with opinions different from the ruling establishment have been victimised.”
The past five years under the BJP, she added, were marked by “unprecedented economic stress and social strain for our country”.
“There is an all-pervasive atmosphere of fear and strife across the country,” she said. “The northeast is burning. Alienation in Jammu & 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.”
Gandhi said voters would see through the “jumlabaazi” of the Modi government, but urged members of the party to not get “complacent or take anything for granted”.
“Our political adversaries have unlimited resources at their command. They will have no scruples and will stoop to anything to ensure that our forward march is halted,” she added.
News media is in a crisis & only you can fix it
You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.
You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.
We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And we aren’t even three yet.
At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly and on time even in this difficult period. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is. Our stellar coronavirus coverage is a good example. You can check some of it here.
This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it. Because the advertising market is broken too.
If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous, and questioning journalism, please click on the link below. Your support will define our journalism, and ThePrint’s future. It will take just a few seconds of your time.