'Onset of Dictatorship': Rahul Gandhi, BJP Alleges Attempt to 'Hide Corruption'
Gandhi said, 'There is no democracy in India. It is now a memory.'
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With the Congress holding a nationwide protest against various issues including unemployment, inflation, and price rise, party leader Rahul Gandhi held a press conference on Friday, 5 August, slamming the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government.
Gandhi said that there was an "onset of dictatorship in India" and that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was now controlling "all independent institutions in the country."
Meanwhile, several Congress leaders, including Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, were detained amid demonstrations as Section 144 was imposed in the whole of New Delhi.
Here Are the Key Highlights From Gandhi's Address:
Gandhi started his address by asking, "How are you enjoying the onset of dictatorship in India?" He added, "There is no democracy in India, there is a dictatorship in India by four people."
He said, "We are witnessing the death of democracy. What India has built brick by brick, starting almost a century ago, is being destroyed in front of your eyes. Anybody who stands against this idea of onset of dictatorship is viciously attacked, jailed, arrested, and beaten up."
On being asked why the government is not being pressurised over several issues, Gandhi stated, "The Opposition in a democracy fights on the basis of instistutions – legal, judicial, electoral structure and the media. All those institutions, however, are giving their support to the ruling government. This is because the government has placed their workers in each institution."
He further stated, "All institutions are under the control of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The whole government infrastructure is with the ruling party."
"I believe the more I speak up on issues about inflation, communal harmony, the more I will be attacked. I get great joy when political opponents attack me, because then I get to learn. Anyone who speaks against the government bears the weight of all the central investigation agencies…democracy is now a memory in India," Gandhi said.
"Hitler had also won elections, he too used to win elections. How did he do it? He had control of all of Germany's institutions...Give me the entire system, then I will show you how elections are won," Gandhi said.
He asked, "Why do they attack the Gandhi family? They do it because we fight for an ideology and there are crores of people like us. We fight for democracy, for communal harmony, and we have been doing this for years. It's not just me who did that, it has been happening for years."
"My family sacrificed their lives. It's our responsibility because we fight for this ideology. It hurts us when Hindus and Muslims are pitted against each other, when Dalits are killed, when a woman is thrashed. So, we fight. This isn't just one family, this is an ideology."
After his address, Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and others leaders reached Parliament wearing black, to mark the protest against inflation, unemployment and the "misuse of central agencies".
'Rahul Gandhi Scared, Doesn't Participate in Discussions on Inflation': BJP
Addressing the media, BJP MP Ravi Shankar Prasad said that Rahul Gandhi never attends any discussions on price rise in Parliament.
"Rahul Gandhi is scared. He is never present when discussions on inflation and price rise happen in the Parliament, they stage walkouts. Niramala ji told the Parliament recently that despite COVID, India's economy is doing better than many other nations. Several economic bodies in the world have praised India. Despite inflation and COVID, we have given the world 200 crores free vaccines," he said.
"Rahul Gandhi is lying to the country. A discussion happened in the Parliament two days ago. Did they participate? Did they not level fake accusations on the government? Protests against inflation and price rise are a farce. The main motive is to intimidate and threaten Enforcement Directorate," he added.
Prasad also accused Gandhi of "blaming" Indian democracy and its institutions because of the Congress' recurring defeats in elections under his leadership and the ongoing probe by the ED against the National Herald.
Shortly after Gandhi's address, Prasad said that it was Rahul's grandmother and former PM Indira Gandhi who had suspended democratic rights by imposing the Emergency.
"Stop demeaning the institutions of India to safeguard your corruption and misdeeds. If people don't listen to you why are you blaming us," Prasad said.
"If people saw dictatorship, it was during the Emergency when people, including opposition leaders and editors, were jailed, judges superseded and censorship imposed. Indira Gandhi had then spoken about India having a committed judiciary," he added.
Union Minister Anurag Thakur also slammed the Congress, saying that the party was protesting to cast a veil over the corruption charges levelled against the Gandhis.
"They are trying to apply pressure on the government and probe agencies after doing corruption. The BJP came to power in 2014 and had promised to give corruption-free governance. This is what Modi has delivered in eight years. Probe agencies are now working against corruption done earlier," Thakur said, as per PTI.
"Should investigation agencies stop their work? Should some political parties be allowed to do corruption?” he further added.
(With inputs from PTI.)
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