A day after BJP lawmaker Yogi Adityanath’s controversial remark that those “opposing Surya Namaskar should drown in the sea”, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday accused the NDA government of playing a “dangerous duplicitous game” of fomenting communal polarisation.
Setting the tone for a day-long Congress chief ministers’ conclave, she said an “atmosphere of fear and foreboding” was being deliberately created.
“On the one hand, the Prime Minister wants to project himself as the great champion of good governance and constitutional values while on the other he allows many of his colleagues to make vile statements and foment communal polarisation,” Gandhi said, pointing to recent controversial statements of BJP leaders and ministers.
A resolution adopted at the meeting, attended by former PM Manmohan Singh and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi among others, attacked so-called attempts by sections of the ruling establishment to disturb social peace as well as communal harmony and resolved to resist these forcefully. The Congress chief hit out at PM Narendra Modi, saying he had taken domestic politics to audiences abroad in a break with tradition.
“Boastful claims, exaggerations and downright falsehoods characterise most of his statements. His election promises are now being dismissed, in the words of one of his own key colleagues, as chunavi jumlas (poll idioms),” she said.
This was the first meeting of party chief ministers called by Gandhi after the Congress’ drubbing in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in a bid to discuss and formulate a strategy to take on the NDA government for its “indifferent attitude” towards Congress-ruled and other non-BJP states. The previous conference was held at Guwahati in April 2002 where the ideas of RTI and MGNREGA first took shape and became part of the party’s agenda. The Congress is in power in nine states.
“In terms of style, there is unprecedented centralisation of power and authority, the deliberate bypassing of parliamentary procedures and practices, threats to civil society and warnings to the judiciary,” she said, while calling for enhancing the party’s communication and marketing skills that cost the Congress heavily in the general elections.
“Our opposition believes in centralising power and ensuring that one or two people run our country,” said Rahul Gandhi.