New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi today said people will no longer be fooled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “bogus promise of achche din” and likened the country to a train being driven to disaster by an “autocratic, incompetent and arrogant driver”.
Addressing the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) meeting in Parliament House, he alleged that corruption, economic failure, incompetence and spread of social divisiveness have peaked under the Narendra Modi government and asked party MPs to provide an alternative.
There is a rising tide of anger against the ruling dispensation and party MPs must strive hard to give people an alternative to the bogus promise of Modiji’s ‘Achche Din’, the Congress chief said while hitting out at the government on a range of issues, including the Rafale deal and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.
Gandhi recalled Modi’s remarks in 2014 when he was elected that India had been a slow “passenger train” for 70 years after Independence and would become a sleek and shining “magical train” destined for ‘achhe din’ under his guidance and rule.
“Give me your votes, said Modiji, and ‘I will take you on the best and most comfortable journey of your life’. Four years of Modi rule later, sadly, India today looks more like a train that is being driven to disaster by an autocratic, incompetent and arrogant driver who does not care what happens to the passengers he is responsible for,” Gandhi said.
“The people of India are demanding change. They will no longer be fooled by your magical train that is headed for a bad accident,” he added.
The people, he added, are looking to the Congress and its allied parties to help remove the Modi government and replace it with one which will listen to them, understand their problems and provide solutions to help reduce poverty, unemployment and inequality in the country.
There is a great responsibility that is being placed on all of us today, to win this historic struggle between the forces of democracy and social justice versus those of autocracy and social hierarchy, he told his party’s MPs.
Gandhi told Congress MPs “we must ensure” that the forces of hate, division and violence that are trampling the Constitution are prevented from coming back to power.
He noted that “there is a great responsibility placed on all of us today, to win this historic struggle between the forces of democracy and social justice versus those of autocracy and social hierarchy”.
Adding an emotive touch, Gandhi asked members of the party to restore hope in the eyes of the Indian farmers and youth, give relief to ordinary families being crushed under the dual burden of household debt and rising prices of essential goods, ensure the safety of women and the protection of Dalits in order that they get justice.
Raising the issue of graft, he dubbed the Rafale deal “corruption of the century”.
According to Gandhi, Modi came to power on the claim that he would wipe out corruption in the country and provide a very clean government. But the Rafale scam, involving over Rs 1.3 lakh crore of public money, was “designed to bail out debt-ridden corporate cronies of Modiji is symbolic of the true ‘sanskar’ of this government ‘Raam Naam Japna, Paraya Maal Apna’,” he said, recalling an old Hindi proverb.
Discussing the NRC, he said the manner in which the exercise was undertaken by the BJP governments at the Centre and in had left millions of innocent citizens living in fear of being thrown out of their own land and country.
“Clearly, after spending close to Rs 1,200 crore, the execution of this critical and highly sensitive exercise has been tardy. The government must move swiftly to resolve this crisis.
“It is the task of all members of the Congress party to help maintain peace and help all those against whom an injustice has been done in the draft NRC, no matter what their religion, caste, gender, linguistic group or political affiliation,” he said.
Gandhi noted that the Congress had helped in building the nation, constructed on the back of institutions designed to be the voice of the people.
Since the RSS and the BJP have come to power, we have seen a systematic attack on every single one of our institutions. In modern India, these institutions were called temples of democracy and today RSS is intent in destroying every single one of them. Every single institution is being penetrated by their people and nature of institutions itself is being changed, Gandhi told Congress MPs.