Rahul Gandhi accuses BJP, RSS of ‘destroying institutional balance’
Gandhi said that the country requires a judiciary that is not penetrated by the RSS and the BJP.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ideological fountainhead, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, (RSS) used money power to destroy “institutional balance”, which manifested in several ways such as “poaching” of MLAs and “infiltration” of judiciary. He also said that judges should have a cooling off period before they are re-appointed to “plum posts”, and called for subjecting electronic voting machines (EVMs) to scrutiny, among some of the measures to revive democracy, which, according to him, was “dead”. He also called for “mass action” for change while interacting with advocates in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi district, where he landed on Saturday to campaign for the April 6 assembly elections in TN and Puducherry.
“Over the last six years, there has been a systematic attack on elected institutions and free press that hold the nation together. Democracy doesn't die with a bang, it dies slowly. The RSS has destroyed the institutional balance,” Gandhi said.
Gandhi said that the country requires a judiciary that is not penetrated by the RSS and the BJP, and agreed that there was a need to strengthen the anti-defection law. “We should absolutely have laws that don’t allow MLAs to move but first we need a functioning Parliament, we need a judiciary that is not penetrated by the RSS and BJP, a press that raises this issue,” said Gandhi.
He stated that democracy was “dead” in India because of the RSS and the alleged erosion of Parliament, state assemblies, panchayats, judiciary and a free press. “It is dead because one organisation- the RSS, has combined with huge finances to penetrate and disturb and destroy our institutional balance,” said Gandhi. “There are many different manifestations of this: misuse of sedition law, killing and threatening of people, these are all symptoms"
"What happens when we come to power? There's full penetration of all institutions. We'll have to deal with 15 years of judges who have been placed in the judiciary because they support one political party. It's going to be a huge challenge for the country going forward,” Gandhi said.
Gandhi compared the present situation to the fight against the British rule, when reliance on institutions wasn’t possible, which was a requirement for a functional democracy. He called for “mass action”, which he claimed was starting to take shape at Delhi’s borders, where farmers were protesting against the three farm legislations passed by the Centre.
During his campaign in Puducherry about ten days ago, Gandhi had said that no one could hope to get justice from the judicial system without being “terrified of the consequences”. The Congress government in Puducherry collapsed last week after five party legislators resigned, two of whom joined the BJP. Gandhi said the Congress will have to win with two-thirds majority and wouldn’t be able to govern with 10-15 MLAs because they will be toppled. “Even if we put the right MLAs in place, it is not enough. The power is so strong and heavy that MLAs will not be able to sustain,” said Gandhi, suggesting alleged misuse of investigation agencies.
He claimed that MLAs were bought to defect in various Congress-ruled states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Puducherry, Arunachal Pradesh, where, according to him, the “concentration of capital took the mandate away from us”. He added, “I know the amount of money that was thrown at MLAs in MP, Rajasthan. We’re talking massive amounts of money. When you have a party that is fighting elections with thousands of crores and other parties are not allowed to raise finance. The financiers who would like to support us say their business will be destroyed.”
Gandhi also said that EVMs should be made accessible for scrutiny with transparency to dispel doubts over their functioning. “I think there are problems with EVMs,” he said. “As a first step, the election commission (EC) should allow political parties to study the machines.... Whenever Congress has asked to see the EVMs, do random checks on machines, we are told you can’t do”. During 2020 Bihar polls, Gandhi called EVMs ‘Modi Voting Machines’.
In response to his allegations, an RSS pracharak and veteran BJP leader in Tamil Nadu, L Ganesan said, “RSS means discipline, nationalism and all other good qualities. If somebody says that RSS is influencing the judiciary or any field, people should feel happy that something good will happen. It is a compliment given by Rahul Gandhi to the judiciary. Long ago, when guruji Golwalkar was there, a similar question was asked if RSS is dominating the Jan Sangh and he replied, ‘not only Jan Sangh, we want to influence all political parties in India and all walks of life for the country’. Today, I’m telling the same thing,” he said.