Indian democracy passing through 'most difficult phase': Sonia Gandhi
New Delhi, Oct 18: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi Sunday said the Indian democracy is passing through its "most difficult phase", as she chaired a party meeting during which the roadmap for its agitation over farm bills and alleged atrocities on Dalits was deliberated upon.
Addressing a meeting of AICC general secretaries and state-incharges, which she presided over, Gandhi launched a scathing attack on the government over the three farm laws, the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic slowdown and alleged atrocities against Dalits.
After the meeting, Congress general secretary in-charge (organisation) K C Venugopal said the party has decided to launch a series of programmes against the "anti-farmer, anti-women, anti-poor and anti-people" policies of the BJP-led government at the Centre.
This was the first meeting of general secretaries and state in-charges Sonia Gandhi chaired after a major organisational reshuffle last month.
"In line with the concerted opposition to the anti-farmer legislations and our committed fight for justice for the rape victim in Hathras, it has been decided to observe the 31st October, i.e. Birth Anniversary of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel and martyrdom day of Indira Gandhi as ''Kisan Adhikar Diwas''," the party said.
As part of the Diwas, the Congress will hold ''Satyagraha and Upwas (fasting)'' in every district headquarter between 10 AM to 4 PM against the "anti-farmer and anti-labour laws."
On November 5, the party will observe ''Mahila and Dalit Utpidan Virodhi Divas (Stop Atrocities on Women & Dalits Day) as part of which state level dharnas will be held at every state headquarters between 10 AM to 2 PM.
The party will highlight the repeated atrocities across the country against the Dailts, particularly against the Hathras victim and her family, Venugopal said.
As Diwali festival also falls on November 14, i.e. the birthday of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, a symposium on Nehruvian Ideology and nation building' will be held on November 13 at every state headquarters, he said.
It was also decided at the meeting that on November 14, a massive online campaign titled ''SpeakUpForPSUs'', highlighting the theme self-reliant-India built by Nehru will be launched.
On the anti-farm laws signature campaign, general secretaries and in-charges were instructed to monitor the campaign on the ground level.
In her opening remarks at the video conference meeting, Gandhi alleged a "conspiracy" has been hatched to defeat the gains of the ''green revolution''. She slammed the government over what she said were three "anti-agriculture black laws''.
She also alleged that the country was being ruled by a government which was "systematically" handing over the rights of citizens to a handful of crony capitalists.
Hitting out at the government over the recently passed farm laws, she said the BJP-led dispensation has attacked the very foundation of India''s resilient agrarian economy by bringing in "three anti-agriculture black laws".
"A conspiracy has been hatched to defeat the gains of the ''green revolution''. 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," Gandhi asserted.
The Congress, many other opposition parties and several farmers organisations have been protesting against these farm legislations, claiming these will harm the interests of farmers and benefit corporates, a claim denied by the government. The Centre has asserted that these new laws will be beneficial for farmers and will increase their income.
Gandhi claimed there is a "designed attack" on the Constitution and democratic traditions.
The country was pushed into the "abyss" of coronavirus pandemic by "sheer ineptitude" and "mismanagement" of the Modi government, she alleged in her opening remarks.
"All this happened as we witnessed the biggest unplanned and cruel migration of crores of migrant labourers as the government remained a mute spectator to their miseries.
"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," she said.
There is neither a plan nor strategic thinking, solution or a way ahead in the fight against the pandemic, the Congress president alleged in her address in Hindi.
Gandhi claimed the government has simultaneously "demolished" the economy, built painstakingly by the hard work of fellow Indians and the vision of successive Congress governments.
"Never has the country witnessed such a free-fall in GDP as also all other economic indices," the Congress president said.
She also accused the government of failing to honour even its Constitutional responsibilities, saying the share of GST compensation is being denied to states.
Alleging that atrocities against Dalits have reached a "new zenith", she said that instead of honouring the law and granting adequate protection to India''s daughters, BJP governments are siding with criminals.
She exhorted the general secretaries and state in-charges to take on these challenges and stand with the people.
"Persistent and determined struggle for the cause of people is the heart and soul of Indian National Congress. Even today, dedicated service of fellow citizens and determined fight against the injustice, inequity and discrimination in all spheres is the guiding light for every Congress men and women," Gandhi said.