Congress chief Sonia Gandhi ripped into the government today over the recently passed farm laws, the handling of the coronavirus outbreak, the economic slowdown and the alleged atrocities against Scheduled Castes, claiming democracy in the country is passing through its “most difficult phase”.
Addressing a meeting of the party’s new general secretaries and state in-charges – named after a recent reshuffle — Mrs Gandhi said, “A conspiracy has been hatched to defeat the gains of the ‘green revolution”.
The farmers of Punjab — where the Green revolution had taken place under the Congress government in the ’60s and ’70s have been hugely upset over the new farm laws that allow them to by-pass the weekly markets and sell directly to big corporates.
“Lives and livelihoods of crores of farm labourers, leasehold farmers, small and marginal farmers, toiling labourers and small shopkeepers are under attack. It is our solemn duty to join hands to defeat this sinister conspiracy,” Mrs Gandhi was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.
Mrs Gandhi said the country was pushed into the “abyss” of coronavirus pandemic by “sheer ineptitude” and “mismanagement” of the BJP government, and accused it of being a “mute spectator” to the misery of migrant labourers.
“The stark truth is that a prime minister who promised to defeat corona within 21 days has abdicated his and his government’s responsibility towards the citizens,” Mrs Gandhi said.
The Congress chief also attacked the government over what she called the “free-fall” of the economy, which has never been witnessed before.
“Today, the young people have no jobs. Nearly 14 crore jobs have been lost. Small and medium businesses, small shopkeepers and other small enterprises are shutting at an unprecedented pace, yet an uncaring government remains a mute spectator,” she added.
Atrocities against Dalits, meanwhile, have reached a “new zenith”, Sonia Gandhi said.
“The voice of oppressed families is being suppressed by the agencies of the state. Is this the new ‘Raj Dharma’?” she questioned.
To protest against the BJP-led government’s anti-farmer, anti-women, anti-labour and anti-poor policies the Congress is planning a series of protests.
The first of these — against the anti-farmer and anti-labour legislations and in favour of the fight for justice for the 20-year-old from Hathras who died after brutal torture and alleged gang rape — the party will mark October 31 as “Kisan Adhikar Diwas”, the Congress said.
The day is the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, whom the BJP counts as one of its icons and the death anniversary of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
“On this day Satyagraha and Upawas (fast) will be held at every district headquarter between 10 am to 4 pm,” the Congress said in a statement.