Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the alleged atrocities on women, Dalits, passing three “anti-farmer black laws” and “demolishing” the economy while claiming that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “abdicated his responsibility” in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Atrocities on Dalits have reached a new zenith. Instead of honouring the law and granting adequate protection to India’s daughters, BJP governments are siding with the criminals. The voice of oppressed families is being suppressed by the agencies of the state. Is this the new ‘Raj Dharma’?” Gandhi asked.
The remarks came in the backdrop of an incident at Hathras in Uttar Pradesh in which a 19-year-old Dalit girl died of injuries in a Delhi hospital after she was gang raped last month.
Addressing a virtual meeting of newly-appointed general secretaries and in-charges of states after an organizational reshuffle last month, Gandhi also exhorted the party leaders and workers to join hands in defeating the “anti-democracy, autocratic designs and the sinister conspiracy” of the BJP and its governments.
“Your responsibility is even more onerous and important as our democracy is passing through its most tumultuous times. There is a designed attack on our Constitution and our democratic traditions. Our country is ruled by a government, which is systematically bartering the interests of our citizens at the altar of profiteering by a handful of crony capitalists,” she said.
The meeting also set the tone for the upcoming assembly elections in Bihar and by-polls in other states, including Madhya Pradesh.
A comprehensive nationwide agitation programme to raise the alleged atrocities on women, Dalits and farmers was also approved at the meeting.
Apart from the alleged atrocities on Dalits and women, Gandhi also took on the Modi government over farm laws, the Covid-19 pandemic and the decline in the GDP.
“The current BJP government has attacked the very foundation of our resilient agrarian economy by bringing in three anti-agriculture black laws. A conspiracy has been 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, toiling labourers and small shopkeepers are under attack. It is our solemn duty to join hands to defeat this sinister conspiracy,” she said.
Alleging the “mismanagement” of the Modi government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Congress president said the country witnessed the “biggest unplanned, unmanaged and cruel migration” of crores of migrant labourers during the lockdown period.
“The country was pushed into the abyss of coronavirus pandemic by sheer ineptitude and mismanagement of the Modi government. All this happened as we witnessed the biggest unplanned, unmanaged and cruel migration of crores of migrant labourers as government remained a mute spectator to their miseries,” she said.
Attacking Modi, she said the “stark truth” is that a Prime Minster, who promised to defeat coronavirus within 21 days, has “abdicated” his and his government’s responsibility towards the citizens.
“There is neither a plan nor any strategic thinking, or a solution or a way ahead in the fight against Corona,” she said.
Gandhi said the BJP has 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 jobs have been lost. Small and medium businesses, small shopkeepers and other small enterprises are shutting at an unprecedented pace, yet an uncaring government remains a mute spectator,” she added.
“So much so, the central government is now failing to honour even its constitutional responsibilities. The share of GST compensation is being denied to states. How will state governments help our people, if the central government was to renege on its constitutional obligations? This must be a first example of economic anarchy being spread by the central government,” Gandhi said.
The party’s nationwide agitation programme includes observing a day-long fast on the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and martyrdom day of Indira Gandhi on October 31. The day will also be observed as “Kisan Adhikar Diwas (farmers’ rights day).
There will be tractor rally on every day from November 1 to 10 and nationwide protests over the alleged atrocities on women, Dalits and farmers on November 5.
An online campaign – ‘SpeakUpForPSUs’ – and symposiums on Nehruvian ideology and nation-building will be held on November 14, the birth anniversary of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
On November 19, the birth anniversary of Indira Gandhi, Congress leaders will submit two crore signatures to President Ram Nath Kovind against the new farm laws.