Indian democracy passing through its most difficult phase, says Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday. She accused the BJP-led government of “demolishing” the economy, pushing the country into an “abyss” due to poor management of the coronavirus pandemic, and failing to “honour” the Constitution. Gandhi said the Indian democracy was passing through its “most difficult phase”.
Presiding over a meeting of AICC General Secretaries and state-in-charges, for the first time after a major organisational reshuffle last month, Gandhi also attacked the Centre over the “anti-agriculture” farm laws, and atrocities against Dalits.
Gandhi claimed there was a “designed attack” on the Constitution and democratic traditions. And the Indian democracy was passing through its “most difficult phase”, she reiterated.
Citing the contentious farm laws, Gandhi said, the country was ruling by a government that was “systematically handing over the rights of citizens to a handful of crony capitalists.”
Defeat the sinister conspiracy
A “conspiracy” ws hatched to defeat the gains of the “green revolution”, she alleged. “Lives and livelihoods of crores of farm labourers, leasehold farmers, small and marginal farmers and small shopkeepers are under attack. It is our solemn duty to join hands to defeat this sinister conspiracy,” she said.
Parliament recently has passed the three farm bills — the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020; the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020. Subsequently President Ram Nath Kovind has given his assent to the bills.
The Congress, many other opposition parties and several farmers’ organisations have been protesting against these legislations. They claimed that these would harm the interests of farmers and benefit corporates. But the government however denied the claim. The Centre has asserted that these new laws would be beneficial for farmers and increase their income.
No plan against pandemic
Sonia Gandhi took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Centre’s handling of the coronavirus crisis in the country. “The stark truth is that a prime minister, who promised to defeat corona within 21 days, has abdicated his, and his government’s responsibility towards the citizens,” she said.
“All this happened as we witnessed the biggest unplanned and cruel migration of crores of migrant labourers. And the government remained a mute spectator to their miseries. There is neither a plan, nor strategic thinking, or a way ahead in the fight against the pandemic,” she added.
Speaking on the slump in GDP growth, Gandhi claimed that the government had simultaneously “demolished” the economy, built painstakingly by the hard work of fellow Indians, and the vision of successive Congress governments.
“Never has the country witnessed such a free-fall in GDP, as also, all other economic indices. Today, the young have no jobs. Nearly 14 crore have lost their jobs. Small and medium businesses, small shopkeepers and other small enterprises are shutting at an unprecedented pace. But, an uncaring government remains a mute spectator,” the Congress president said.
She also accused the government of failed to honour its Constitutional responsibilities. The share of GST compensation was being denied to states, she said.
“How will the state governments help our people, if the government of India was to renege on its Constitutional obligations? This must be a first example of the central government spreading economic anarchy,” Gandhi said.
Atrocities against Dalits
In an apparent reference to the gang-rape and death of a 19-year-old Dalit girl in UP’s Hathras, Gandhi said the atrocities against Dalits had reached a “new zenith”.
“Instead of honouring the law and granting adequate protection to India’s daughters, the BJP governments are siding with criminals. The agencies of the state are suppressing the voice of oppressed families. Is this the new “Raj Dharma’?” she asked.
She exhorted the general secretaries and state in-charges to take on these challenges and stand with the people. This is what defines the Congress organisation, she said.
“I am confident that all of you would toil hard and stand up to the forces attacking India and its people. Let us join hands to defeat the anti-democracy and autocratic designs of the ruling BJP,” she said.
“Persistent and determined struggle for the cause of people is the heart and soul of Indian National Congress. Even today, dedicated service of fellow citizens and determined fight against injustice, inequity and discrimination in all spheres are the guiding light for every Congress men and women,” Gandhi said.