Modi instilling fear in people
At Congress’ national convention, Rahul Gandhi launches no-holds barred attack on PM
Mounting a scathing attack on BJP and RSS, Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday accused them of creating an atmosphere of “fear” among the people, asserting the Congress will defeat their ideology and remove the saffron party from power.
Observing that it is a clash between two philosophies, the Congress vice-president said, “This is not a new fight. This fight is thousands of years old. The Congress party’s philosophy says do not fear. The other philosophy says instill fear. You look at BJP’s policies. Their aim is to scare the people. Fear terrorism, Maoism, demonetisation, scare the media. In two-three months, they have spread this fear in the entire country.”
He said while the Congress party told labourers and farmers to be fearless come what may, they will be guaranteed 100 days employment and none will be able to take away their land without paying the market price for it, Narendra Modi has “snatched” their money and land. Gandhi said in states like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, where Adivasis have stood up for their land, water and forest rights, they have been shot down. “These people (BJP and RSS) think that they can rule by spreading hatred and fear among the people. Congress party does not hate them, but we will defeat their ideology,” Gandhi said.
He said Congress party has always stood for dispelling fear and asserted that India and its people do not need to fear anything in the world. “The basis of their politics, their structure, is to change fear into anger. This is not happening for the last two or two-and-a-half years, but this has been going on for thousands of years. And they are the ones doing it. This ideology is doing it,” he said. Gandhi said the philosophy of being fearless has been there in the Congress party and he has seen it in the correspondence between Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru for not fearing the British, during Green revolution, where farmers were asked to be fearless and trust themselves, bank nationalisation and under the UPA dispensation when the message “do not fear and we are there with you” was given by way of Land Acquisation Act, Right to Food Act and MNREGA.
Describing institutions like the RBI, the EC and the judiciary as the “soul” of India, Gandhi alleged that they are being “undermined” by the present government. “We respected RBI’s independence. It is the financial bedrock of India and now it is being ridiculed. People in the RSS and BJP are under the impression that nobody else’s opinion matters but theirs,” he said. Turning to the media, Gandhi said it might have shown him in poor light or written against him, but he would never scare them or work against their interests.
In a speech loaded with sarcasm, the Congress leader also questioned the PM’s yoga skills. Gandhi claimed that the prime minister, an avid yoga follower, cannot even perform padmasana (lotus posture), and said a yoga teacher told him that those who cannot perform padmasana cannot do yoga. Taking the jibe further, Rajasthan Congress unit chief Sachin Pilot said the prime minister may not be able to perform padmasana, but has made the entire country do shirsasan (headstand).
It was an all-Rahul show where the Congress vice-president presided over the convention as party chief Sonia Gandhi has been taking a back seat for quite some time. In his opening remarks, he spoke about the note ban, insisting it was for the first time that India’s prime minister was being “ridiculed world over” for taking such an “ill-conceived” decision. He added that demonetisation was a “personal” decision of Modi. Referring to Modi’s 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign line that achhe din will come when BJP was voted to power, Gandhi said only Congress’ return to the helm in 2019 will bring in good days. Gandhi kept up the suspense on the issue of alliance for Uttar Pradesh assembly election, cryptically remarking it will be an “exciting affair”.
Congress will hold Jan Vedna conclaves across all states between January 20 and 25 and at district and block levels thereafter.