NEW DELHI: A combative Sonia Gandhi on Friday attacked the Modi government for “murdering” democracy and unleashing a campaign of “baseless allegations” against the opposition, as top Congress leaders hit the streets and courted arrest near Parliament.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi were taken into custody along with Sonia Gandhi, who predicted that the government’s days were numbered the way it was functioning.
“Do not try to frighten or defame us… life has taught me to struggle, we have faced a lot of challenges. They don’t know what we are made of,” she said addressing the party’s ‘Save Democracy’ rally at Jantar Mantar here.
Asserting that her party will play role of an “alert” opposition with “full vigour” both inside and outside Parliament, she asked partymen to “unmask” the Modi government.
Opposition leader in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, party leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and others courted arrest at Parliament Street Police station after they were stopped from marching to Parliament. They were released after a short while.
“They should understand very well that when matters would become unbearable, people of India know how to teach them a lesson…. The way the Modi government is playing a fraud on the mandate, it seems its days are numbered,” the Congress president said. The rally saw Rahul Gandhi and Manmohan Singh also attacking the Modi dispensation over pulling down of Congress governments in north-east Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh and north Indian state of Uttarakhand.
The AgustaWestland issue appeared to be weighing heavily on her mind as Sonia targeted the Modi dispensation accusing it of starting “this game of leveling baseless allegations against leaders of opposition parties”.
“But, I would like tell them they should not commit the mistake of assuming that Congress is a weak force. Congress is never going to bow before injustice. We will play our role of an alert opposition with full vigour in coming days, (both) within Parlia-ment and outside too and combat injustice,” she said.
Sonia said that the way the Centre has toppled Congress governments in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand through “money and muscle power has not only shaken the foundation of democracy, but has murdered it”.
She also asked the partymen to reach out to “each corner” of the country and “unmask” the Modi government through democratic means.
Declaring that the Congress will not allow the ruling party to “destroy” country’s democratic set up, she accused it of attempting to divide people on the basis of religion, region, language and eating habits.
She also alleged that minorities were living under fear and the Dalits, women and tribals were being given a raw deal by changes in laws pertaining to Panchayati Raj institutions.
She said that the Congress would not allow democracy to be “destroyed, whatever might be the diabolic designs” of the government.
Sonia said that the Congress would not succumb despite attempts “to browbeat the opposition and malign it”.