Divisive forces are spreading hatred through the India, freedom of expression is at stake and the country is in a crisis that none of its founding fathers would have imagined, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said on Saturday.
“Powers that want people to fight are spreading poison of hate in the country. Freedom of expression is under threat, democracy is being destroyed. They want India’s people, our tribals, women, youth to keep their mouths shut. Vo desh ka muh bandh rakhna chahte hain (They want to silence the nation),” she said, speaking via video link at the ground-breaking ceremony for the new Chhattisgarh legislature.
“None of our ancestors, including Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and BR Ambedkar, would have imagined that our country will be facing such a tough situation after 75 years of independence when our democracy and constitution are under threat,” Mrs Gandhi added.
Though the she did not name Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration, the Congress chief has raised the ante against the central government with near-daily attacks including on subjects like the centre not clearing its dues to state governments and holding entrance examinations at a time when India has been reporting the highest number of new coronavirus in the world.
Alleging that the influence of “tanashahi” (dictatorship) on the country’s “lokshahi” (democracy) was rising, Mrs Gandhi said, “Bad thinking is now dominating, freedom of expression is in danger and democratic institutions are being ruined.”
The Congress has maintained its pointed attacks on the government even as it battles turmoil within the party that has seen nearly two dozen senior leaders expressing dissatisfaction at the way the party is being run.
The BJP has largely brushed off the Congress’s new attacks with no senior leader responding directly to the remarks by the top leaders of the opposition party in recent days.