NEW DELHI: Attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah over what she described "as a shameless attempt to subvert democracy in Maharashtra", Congress president Sonia Gandhi Thursday said that every effort was made to blatantly sabotage the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance government formation in the state and the BJP government at Centre was totally exposed on the issue.
Addressing Congress Parliamentary Party General Body Meeting at Central Hall of Parliament, Gandhi said: "let me assure you, we three parties are united in our resolve to defeat the BJP’s sordid manipulations."
"We are meeting this morning in the backdrop of what can only be described as a shameless attempt to subvert democracy in Maharashtra. You are all aware of the sequence of events. The Governor behaved in an unprecedented and most reprehensible manner. There is no doubt that he acted under the instructions of the Prime Minister and the Home Minister," said said.
Her remarks come ahead of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray's scheduled oath-taking ceremony as Maharashtra Chief Minister at Mumbai's Shivaji Park Thursday.
While Congress is set to get Assembly Speaker's post, NCP has settled for deputy CM's chair.
Attacking the BJP, Sonia said that the right-wing party's pre-poll alliance with Shiv Sena did not hold because of its own arrogance and over-confidence.
"Every effort was made to blatantly sabotage the three-Party alliance government formation, but we appealed to the Supreme Court and the Modi-Shah Government was totally exposed. It is clear that the Modi-Shah government is bankrupt of decency and is clueless on how to manage the grave problems facing the country. The economic crisis is deepening by the day. Growth is declining, unemployment is growing, and investment is not happening," she said.
Attacking the Modi government over growing farm distress, she said the situation is deteriorating among farmers, traders and small and medium businesses.
"Consumption, especially in rural areas, is falling. Exports are declining. And the prices of essential food commodities are rising, causing hardship to households. Instead of tackling the problem, the Modi-Shah Government is busy fudging statistics or, indeed, not publishing them at all! The public sector has been put on the block, in all probability, to be sold off to a few favoured business people. What will be the fate of the thousands of workers at those enterprises? Lakhs upon lakhs of salaried and ordinary families are worried about their deposits in banks," she said.
Targetting Prime Minister, the Congress chief said, "To divert the attention of our people from their day-to-day livelihood concerns, the Prime Minister and his Home Minister persist in pursuing divisive policies."
"These issues, like the one relating to amendments in the citizenship law, strike at the very foundations of our Constitution. It is sheer hypocrisy on the part of the Modi-Shah establishment to celebrate November 26th as Constitution Day while deceitfully subverting this sacred document day in and day out! The whole of the northeast is in turmoil because of these amendments. And because the NRC project implemented by the BJP government in Assam, monitored by the Supreme Court, has not fulfilled the RSS-BJP expectations and propaganda, there is now clamour in the ruling party for a fresh NRC in that state".
"The Home Minister is also speaking of unleashing an NRC in the entire country – a step that will only lead to more fear and panic. Three months ago, democracy was again subverted when article 370 was erased (read down) under the blatantly false promise of a new beginning in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. But the ground realities are completely different from the fictitious images conjured up by the Modi-Shah government," she added.
Calling Electoral Bonds another clandestine operation, done in haste and against the considered advice of the RBI, Sonia said there were several infirmities in this scheme which seems to have been pushed through by the Prime Minister only to benefit the ruling party and protect its financiers – while removing wholesale any checks and balances in this sensitive matter of political funding.
"In the last few weeks, we have also witnessed another sordid and yet-unexplained scandal. The government sought to soft-pedal revelations that the WhatsApp accounts of a number of individuals critical of the ruling establishment have been under surveillance through PEGASUS, a spying software."
"This was all the more shocking since access to such software acquired from Israel is admittedly restricted only to government defence agencies. What was the government’s role in violating the fundamental rights of the citizens concerned? But as always, it remains silent," she added.