New Delhi: In a frontal attack on the Modi government, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday accused it of mistaking its parliamentary majority for a license “to impose narrow ideology” and said it was “anchored in slick marketing events, glib marketing slogans and exaggeration”.
Addressing the Congress Parliamentary Party meeting here, Gandhi said that recent events in the Kashmir Valley were tragic and pose a grave challenge to the country.
She attacked the government over beating of four Dalit youths in BJP-ruled Gujarat, terming the incident as an “example of social terror this government condones”.
Gandhi said the government seems to have forgotten that parliamentary majority can never be a reason to abandon the principles and practice of constitutionalism.
In reference to the Rajya Sabha elections in Haryana, she said: “We saw how in a never-before-act, pens in a polling booth were mysteriously replaced.”
She accused the central government of trying to topple Congress governments in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Gandhi said “deception was not a new thing” for the Modi government and “they were skilled at ignoring facts.”
“They propagate false claims and orchestrate unsubstantiated charges against the opposition, especially the Congress,” she said.
“We are presented with a government that is anchored in the slick marketing events in glib marketing slogans in repackaging in embellishment and exaggeration,” she added.
Referring to situation in Kashmir, she said, “militants must be dealt with firmly” yet an introspection was required as to what had driven scores of youths to such levels of anger and protest, even violence.”
“Can we say in all honesty that we have responded with sincerity to their pleas? They are our people, we cannot forsake them,” she said.
Gandhi said that the loss of life and suffering “of our brothers and sisters, whether they are civilian or of the armed forces, is a source of deep anguish.”
Gandhi referred to the work done by Congress-led Manmohan Singh government in the state and said “sadly, this is no longer the case.”
“We must respond with restraint and sensitivity to the harsh realities of the recent month. Not doing so is fraught with dangerous long-term consequences. While borders cannot be redrawn, much can and must be done within the framework of our Constitution,” she said.
Attacking the government on economy, she said questions had been raised on GDP figures from BJP’s own leaders.
“The BJP blocked every important FDI initiative of the UPA government. Yet now it has put in place a free-for-all policy even in a sensitive area like defence,” she said.
On the issue of job creation, Gandhi said the government in the past two years sought to create a ‘bubble’ of achievement .
She said prices of essential commodities, specially food items, were at an all-time high.
“The Modi government’s hollow claims on inflation have been exposed recently by no less than the Reserve Bank Governor (Raghuram Rajan). The widespread distress in rural areas seems to be of no concern to the Modi government,” she alleged.
She said recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission have done injustice to the government employees and armed forces, resulting in discontent.
The Congress president also took on the government on the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) scam, and mentioned alleged scandals in other BJP-run states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
The Congress president accused the Modi government of snatching away rights of Adivasis, Dalits and traditional forest dwellers.
Gandhi said the Congress may be lacking in numbers but will continue to demand accountability.
Taking a swipe at the government’s foreign policy, she said, “it’s policy towards Pakistan oscillates from one extreme to the other”.
She said relations were Nepal were at an all-time low and alleged that “ill-prepared policy on the NSG membership exposed us to a snub.”