Congress expresses apprehensions about future of democracy in India
The Congress has expressed serious apprehensions about the future of democracy in India, contending that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has scant regard for constitutional morality and human values.
The party expressed its angst over Modi’s attitude towards the horrific crime committed in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri where a Union minister’s SUV mowed down farmers.
The Congress made this grim observation on account of two concerns: first, the Prime Minister’s refusal to dismiss Union minister Ajay Misra Teni despite eyewitness accounts of his son’s involvement in the murder of farmers; and second, his government’s tendency to ignore tragedies and prevent Opposition leaders from meeting families of the victims to express empathy.
The Prime Minister never comments on any development that shows his government in poor light even as he tweets and speaks on all kinds of trivial and insignificant issues.
Modi hasn’t uttered a word on the death of hundreds of people during demonetisation, lockdown and farmers’ agitation. Even during tragedies that shook the nation — like Unnao and Hathras cases — Modi chose not to react. In the Pegasus scandal, which affects national security, he refused to comment.
At a protest organised by the Congress, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot said: “Koi sunane wala nahin, koi parwah nahin (There is no one to hear, no one cares). It was never like this. Jo shapath liya uski dhajjiyan uda di (The oath that he took, he has blown it to smithereens).… This is a signal to the country. Will democracy survive? People can foresee the future, what lies ahead. The model of Modi’s governance — resorting to coercion using central agencies — has put constitutional rule in jeopardy.”
Arguing that Lakhimpur demonstrated they were itching to cross the line, Gehlot said: “The common people will have to rise now to save democracy. People now know how Modi deploys hollow rhetoric to mislead the nation, he says something and does something else. Nobody feels safe under his rule. And Yogi Adityanath is another form of Modi; the methods are the same. The delusion of Modi’s greatness now lies shattered. The people must rise now.”
Even the party’s official briefing by former law minister Ashwini Kumar focused on degeneration of human and constitutional values in Modi’s regime.
Kumar said: “Have we lost the right to feel empathy towards our fellow human being who is in grief? Are we expected to rub salt on the wounds? Does the Opposition have the right to raise its voice against the state’s zulm? Can a leader no more articulate the hurt feelings of society? Are we still a democracy?”
Insisting that Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was going to Lakhimpur Kheri only to wipe tears, he asked, “What is her crime that she has been under detention?”
Former home minister P. Chidambaram said: “Priyanka’s arrest and detention are totally illegal and an abuse of power. The officer told her she was arrested under Section 151 of the CrPC. Any person arrested under 151 cannot be detained for more than 24 hours, unless there is an order of the judicial magistrate under any other provision of law.”
The veteran leader added: “There is no order of any judicial magistrate. Her constitutional rights under Articles 19 and 21 have been grossly violated. Her arrest violated several provisions of the CrPC. No woman can be arrested after sunset or before sunrise and Priyanka was arrested at 4.30am, which is illegal. She was arrested by a male police officer — which is illegal.”
The Congress has written to the Uttar Pradesh chief minister informing him that a team led by Rahul Gandhi proposes to visit Lakhimpur Kheri on Wednesday.