Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for delaying the Winter Session of Parliament on “flimsy grounds”, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday warned the NDA regime that it can not escape constitutional accountability by “locking the temple of democracy”.
Addressing the Congress Working Committee, which met here to finalise the schedule for the election of the next Congress chief, Gandhi said that despite Modi’s failure to adhere to the promises made during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, he continues making “false promises”.
“The Modi government in its arrogance has cast a dark shadow on India’s Parliamentary democracy by sabotaging the Winter Session of Parliament on flimsy grounds. The government is mistaken if it thinks that by locking the temple of democracy, it will escape constitutional accountability ahead of the assembly elections in Gujarat,” Gandhi said in her opening remarks.
She said that Parliament is the forum in which questions should be asked – questions about corruption in high places, conflict of interest of serving Ministers and dubious defence deals.
“Government will be obliged to answer these questions, but in order to avoid the questions and answers ahead of Gujarat elections, the government has taken the extraordinary step of not holding a Winter Session when it should be held,” she said.
Gandhi said the Prime Minister had the “audacity to hold a midnight celebration in Parliament to launch an ill-prepared and flawed GST but he lacks the courage to face Parliament”.
Training her guns on the Prime Minister over his poll promises and claims on the economic front, Gandhi accused the government of “building the fortunes of a handful while destroying the future of the poor”.
“Unemployment, rising inflation, falling exports and GST are causing tremendous suffering to millions of people. A year later, demonetisation has done nothing but rub salt on the wounds of distressed farmers, small traders, housewives and daily workers. The fortunes of a handful are being built by destroying the future of the poor and the oppressed,” she said.
“Yet the Prime Minister continues with greater vigour, to make announcements, false promises, and to quote facts and figures that have nothing to do with the reality on the ground,” she added.
The Congress President accused the Modi government of forcefully trying to change the history of modern India by systematically erasing the contributions made by first Prime Minister of country Jawaharlal Nehru and later by Indira Gandhi.
“Be it through rewriting school text books and through malicious misinformation and propaganda or ignoring with disdain the importance of the birth centenary of Indiraji, this government is forcefully trying to change the history of modern India. This vilification is blatant and for all to see,” she said.
Over the 18-month long election process of the Congress organisation, which will pave the way for Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as President, she said the entire process reaffirms the party’s roots.
“The election process that has concluded in all but six states has elected block presidents, an equal number of delegates, primary units and party members. This has provided an opportunity for the party to interact with lakhs of workers across the country, starting from the booth level.
“This reaffirms that the party’s roots are spread across every district of the country and that no other political party can match the plurality and diversity of the Congress party,” she said in an apparent attack on BJP chief Amit Shah, who has been claiming that BJP has become the world’s largest party and would render India “Congress-free”.
She congratulated Rahul Gandhi and his team for their efforts on the Gujarat Assembly election front and asked them to do their best.
“Let us do our best to prove that people are not fooled and that they will make the right decision and defeat the present dispensation there,” she said.