NEW DELHI: Lashing out at Prime Minister for his barbs on Emergency, the Congress on Tuesday compared him to Mughal emperor Aurangzeb and accused him of holding his own party and the entire country captive.
“The dictatorial Modi, who is more cruel than Delhi Sultanate’s Aurangzeb, today gave us lectures on 21-month-long Emergency after 43 years. He forgot that Aurangzeb only held his father (Shahjahan) captive, but under an undeclared emergency for the past 49 months today’s Aurangzeb Modi has not only held his own party but an entire democracy captive,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.
He said that by cursing former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for imposing Emergency, Modi was only trying to deflect attention from his failures over the past four years.
Ahmed Patel, political secretary to former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, tweeted: “After four years, fear of losing the 2019 elections is haunting the government. Hence, they are trying to take refuge in the events of 1975 Emergency. But the fact is after 1977, Indiraji apologised, corrected her mistakes and people of India voted her back.”
Sharpening his attack on Modi for saying that the Congress should not give lessons to him on democracy, Surjewala said, "Aurangzeb never took lessons from anybody. Dictators don't take lessons, only history teaches them lessons and I am sure Modiji will also have the same fate."
In an apparent attack on Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, the Congress leader said "unfortunately, if those sitting in constitutional positions will also murder 'maryada' and set traditions, then people's faith in democracy will be hurt."
Surjewala alleged that the prime minister himself was threatening the states to fall in line or there will be a cut in the grants released to them.
"There is an undeclared emergency in this country for the last 49 months with opposition suppressed and PM Modi himself following those who give death and rape threats to anyone who oppose them, including BJP's ministers," he said.
The Congress leader alleged that an atmosphere of fear was being created to suppress dissent and Modi was distracting people to hide his own failures.
He said for the last 49 months, Modi's mounting promises have been turned out to be lies as black money has not returned yet and democracy under the Modi government is dying.
He also alleged that the Finance Ministry is actively working to disrupt the thriving Indian economy instead of improving it.
Surjewala defended the Emergency saying it was imposed 43 years ago against the Janata Party which was pro-rich and pro-zamindars and was imposed to defend the rights of the poor, the Dalits and the have-nots.
He said the Congress's fight was against the hoarders and black-marketeers who were being protected by the Jana Sangh then and today, Modi's 'Suit-Boot Sarkar' is also protecting a handful of crony capitalists.
He also said that the Indira Gandhi government in 1975 fought a war against poverty and gave access of banks to the marginalised.
"Will merely hitting out at the Congress help provide two crore jobs per year to the youth in the country? Will attacking Congress help bring in black money into the country and will violence and atrocities against women and Dalits stop?" he asked.
Modi, while addressing an event to mark 43rd anniversary of imposition of the Emergency, singled out the Congress and the Gandhi family over the measure, and said the draconian measure was a "sin" of that party and the Constitution was misused for "one family".
In an all-out attack against the Grand Old Party, Modi said there was no difference in the "psyche" of the Congress during the Emergency and now.
The Constitution was misused "for one family" while imposing the Emergency, Modi said.
"The entire country was turned into a jail for selfish personal interest of that family," he added.
He also said that the Emergency was a classic example of how the Constitution of India could be "abused for the wishes of one family".
(With PTI inputs)