The top leadership of Congress flagged off its campaign for next year’s national elections on Sunday, claiming the party will win all coming polls and launching all-round attacks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, his UPA chairperson mother Sonia Gandhi, senior leader and former PM Manmohan Singh, besides other top guns, addressed party workers gathered outside and inside central Delhi’s packed Ramlila Maidan that has a capacity of 50,000 people.
At the Jan Akrosh rally, they attacked PM Modi on corruption, economy, women’s safety his China and farm policies, “muzzling of dissent, weakening of institutions, communal divide, crises in India’s judiciary and media, besides rising unemployment and fuel prices.”
The rally comes ahead of Karnataka polls. For Congress, which has lost power in state after state, it is almost an existential battle. BJP is pushing hard to continue its winning streak.
Rahul spoke at his first rally, outside the historic walled city of Delhi, after taking over as party president in December last year. He questioned Modi’s “silence” on issues ranging from last year’s military stand-off with China at Doklam to recent cases of rape in the country.
He accused the government of weakening institutions, neglecting farmers and being silent on key issues affecting the people.
“The name of this rally is jan aakrosh rally. Wherever I go these days, I ask a simple question to the people – ‘Are you happy’. And I get the same answer – ‘No’.”
The rally was also attended by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, besides former CMs Sheila Dikshit (Delhi) and Harish Rawat (Uttarakhand).
Referring to PM Modi’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Rahul accused him of not speaking a single word on Doklam. “What kind of prime minister is he? He had tea with the Chinese President and held a meeting without a single agenda. In Doklam, China is making helipad and extending its airport and the Indian PM is there conducting discussions without an agenda,” he said.
He predicted the party’s victory in the coming round of assembly elections and the next Lok Sabha elections, and gave an open invitation to all to join his party.
Farmers, he said, were under stress, but their loans were not written off by the government, which was busy “waiving off debts of corporate houses.” “I met him (Modi) on agrarian issues and personally requested him to waive off farmer loans. He did not even reply,” Rahul said.
He also hit out at the government over Jammu Kathua and Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao rape cases and said, “For the first time an Indian PM has been asked on foreign soil to protect the women of the country.”
He also questioned the PM’s oft-repeated assertion that Congress has not done anything in 70 years. “The RSS and the BJP spread violence, whereas Congress believes in love. In 70 years, we have worked to provide security to Indians, including Dalits and Adivasis. This is our work and that’s what Congress has given to India,” he said.
Sonia, who had been ailing for sometime, also gave a rare public appearance. She alleged that the roots of corruption have become stronger in the NDA regime. She also accused the government of muzzling dissent, weakening institutions and dividing communities for electoral gains. “Judiciary is passing through an unprecedented crisis. Media can’t play its role, it is being stopped from doing so… It is a sensitive phase we need to take seriously… we will fight this on behalf of the people,” she told the gathering.
Former PM Singh blamed the government for suppressing no-confidence motions. He also showed his concern for protecting India’s democracy and said, “Democracy is a gift of the Constitution. We will have to work together to protect it.”
JAN AKROSH VS PARIVAR AKROSH
PM has double standards on corruption, has messed up economy, and failed to provide safety to women. He held a ‘no-agenda’ meet with Chinese President. What kind of Prime Minister is he?—cong prez RAHUL GANDHI
Corruption stronger in NDA regime. What happened to Modi’s na khaoonga, na khane doonga slogan? Govt is muzzling dissent, weakening institutions, dividing communities. Judiciary, media are in crisis.—UPA chief Sonia GaNdhi
PM has not fulfilled a single promise. Democracy is in danger under his regime. Unemployment is rising. Anti-farmer policies have resulted in an unprecedented agrarian distress. Fuel prices are rising.—EX-PM Manmohan Singh
BJP CHIEF HITS BACK
BJP chief Amit Shah said a dynasty and their courtiers, voted out of state after state by jan aadesh, now pretend to represent jan akrosh.
It’s a parivar akrosh rally that highlights its increasing irrelevance. Congress’ comprehensive defeats across India show real jan akrosh.
Rahul must apologise for his power hungry party’s efforts to trample every institution.
People not tolerating Congress lies, empty promises, corruption and communalism.
Congress cannot digest that 125 crore Indians have seen through their anti-development and highly divisive politics.
Shah questioned Congress for ‘disallowing’ Parliament from functioning and preventing the formation of an OBC commission.