Rahul Gandhi today made a scathing attack on the Modi government, saying democracy is going through "one of its darkest hours" with the ruling dispensation "obsessed with power and seeking to silence" all those who disagree.
Presiding over the meeting of the Congress working committee (CWC) in the absence of party chief Sonia Gandhi, the party vice-president charged that, "hiding behind the cloak of national security, civil society is being intimidated for asking questions."
Alluding to the one-day ban on Hindi channel NDTV India, Gandhi charged, "TV channels are being punished and asked to shut down. The opposition is being arrested for holding the government to account". "Democracy under the present dispensation is going through one of the darkest hours," he said, adding that all attempts by the government to suppress fundamental freedom by "abusing" state power would only strengthen the Congress resolve to defeat such "danger designs".
"Asking questions is what discomforts this government the most, for they have no answers. We must in every forum, in particular the upcoming session of Parliament, expose the government's failures," he said.
The winter session of Parliament is set to begin on November 16. Gandhi, who has been raking up the issue of OROP since the past few days, said, "In recent months, our jawans have suffered the highest casualties in decades.
They are being cruelly rewarded by a callous government with denial of OROP and cut in disability pension." During the meeting, which will also strategise the party's action plan for the upcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and some other states, Gandhi said the Modi government is expected to launch a "disinformation campaign and polarisation to exploit caste and religious issues".
"With state elections due in the coming months as we can safely expect the Modi government to launch a campaign of disinformation and polarisation. They will exploit caste and religious fault lines. We must anticipates and neutralise such devious strategies," he said.
Underlining that the Congress has "successfully exposed" the Modi government's "anti-poor agenda and broken promises", Gandhi asked the partymen to continue the "struggle to expose the comprehensive failure of the Modi government on all fronts".
Highlighting the alleged failures of the government, Gandhi said atrocities against Dalits "go unabated" and the rights of Adivasis "continue to be trampled upon". "Selectively chosen corporates are favoured, not the aam admi. Youth, even those who have good education, face the spectre of unemployment. Non-availability of bank credit has choked out small businesses. In the last 20 months, exports have registered negative growth," he charged.
Gandhi said farmers' suicides and agrarian "unrest" have increased to "astonishing levels" and the government is trying to hide its failures behind numbers that have been widely "doubted and questioned".
The BJP-ruled states are actively "diluting and undermining" laws passed by Parliament, he said dubbing them as "another disturbing trend".
"The Modi government is lobbying with states via informal channels to deny work under MGNREGA to the very poor. The government has swung from one extreme to another in dealing with Pakistan and the issues concerning J&K," he said. He said the Congress will this year commence the birth centenary celebrations of Indira Gandhi and the main committee and several sub-committee have been constituted for the purpose.