Problem Isn't With Us, It's With Government, Says Sonia Ahead of Budget Session
NEW DELHI: Stating that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that Parliament functions, All India Congress Committee (AICC) president Sonia Gandhi on Monday said her party wants Parliament to function, to legislate, because the problem is not with us it is with the government.
“Parliament meets tomorrow (on Tuesday). Contrary to what the government has been saying, let me once and for all make it absolutely clear—we want Parliament to function, to legislate,” said Gandhi while addressing the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting here.
“The problem is not with us,” she said, “it is with the government, which refuses to accept that the democratic right of the Opposition is to raise burning public issues for debate and discussion. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that Parliament functions.”
Going hammer and tongs at the Narendra Modi Government, Gandhi said, “We are meeting today under most disturbing circumstances, circumstances that are causing grave disquiet across the country. The ruling establishment seems to have lost all sense of balance, and of proportion. It appears determined to undermine all democratic norms.”
Lambasting the Centre for growing intolerance in the India society, she said, “It seems hell-bent to destroy the spirit of inquiry, the spirit of questioning, the spirit of debate and dissent. First, it muzzled our voice in the Lok Sabha. Then it silenced civil society activists and organisations. And, now is the turn of universities, where young people must have the fullest freedom to express themselves.”
In an apparent reference to Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide at Hyderabad University and lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri (Uttar Pradesh), the Congress president said, “Social justice is being demeaned by callousness to victims of caste discrimination. The foundations of communal harmony are being systematically eroded.”
In a tirade against the Centre supposedly over its handling the Arunachal situation, Gandhi said, “Professional organisations are becoming the mouthpiece of those in power. Courts are being turned into akharas. Elected governments are being subverted, and no action has been taken against blatant corruption in BJP-ruled states for which there is clear evidence.”
Belying the Modi Government’s tall claim of ‘Achhe Din (the Good Days)’, the Congress president said, “The economy is just not picking up regardless of the government’s tall claims. Farmers and rural labour are in a deep crisis. Prices of essential commodities are placing an intolerable burden on crores of families, and the social sector spending is being squeezed.”
Accusing the ruling establishment of once again unleashing its “divisive agenda by generating a wholly unwarranted debate on patriotism and nationalism to cover up its many failures”, Gandhi said, “Simply put, democratic and liberal values are under severe assault. The freedom to think and speak is being drastically curtailed.
I thought we should meet against this disturbing background and take stock of what is happening on various fronts, she told her partymen.