Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday attacked the government, alleging that two Indias – one for the rich and one for the poor – have been created and the gap between them was widening, even as he claimed that the country was at risk both internally and externally.
Speaking first from the Opposition side in Lok Sabha during the debate on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s address, he said the speech to a joint sitting of Parliament didn’t touch the central challenges facing the country and was a “list of bureaucratic ideas” instead of a strategic vision.
“There are now two distinct Indias, one India is for the extremely rich people – for those who have immense wealth, immense power, for those who don’t need a job, those who don’t need water connection, electricity connections, but for those who control the heartbeat of the country…the gap is widening between the two,” he claimed.
Gandhi accused the ruling BJP of bringing back the idea of a “king of India” that was “smashed in 1947” and targeted the Narendra Modi saying that the “idea of a king is back”.
“India is described in the Constitution as a union of states and not as a nation. One cannot rule over the people of a state in India. Different languages and cultures cannot be suppressed. It is a partnership, not a kingdom,” he said.
Stressing on the importance of cooperative federalism, he said that the only way India has been ruled over the decades is through conversations.
“Congress smashed the idea of a king in 1947, but now that has come back. There is a vision that India can be ruled by a stick from the Centre. Every time that has happened, the stick has been broken,” he said.
“That is the only way India has been ruled. You can look at Ashoka, Maurya, the country has always been ruled by conversation and negotiation.
“My great grandfather was jailed for 15 years. My grandmother was shot 32 times. My father was blown to bits. So I know what I am talking about. You are fiddling with something very, very dangerous. I am advising you to stop. If you don’t stop you will create a problem. The problem has already started,” Gandhi said.
Gandhi alleged that the government lacked any idea of history and they sought to suppress the concept of Union of States as against the idea of a king.
“There are two competing visions of India. One, of a Union of States, where decisions are taken through conversation and negotiation – a partnership of equals. Another, of rule by a Shahenshah’s diktat. This hasn’t worked in 3,000 years. BJP’s flawed vision has weakened our nation,” he said.
He said that India was weakening and is completely isolated and questioned why no foreign dignitary was present as chief guest during the Republic Day celebrations. “We are surrounded in Sri Lanka, Nepal, Burma, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China. Everywhere we are surrounded. Our opponents understand our position,” he said.
The Congress leader also accused the BJP and the RSS of playing with the foundation of the country and ensuring that jobs were at a premium. Targeting the government over unemployment, Gandhi said that the presidential address made no mention of job losses.
“You keep talking about Made in India, Made in India. Made in India is not possible anymore. You have destroyed ‘Made in India’. You need to support small and medium industries, otherwise ‘Made in India’ is not possible. Small and medium industries are the only ones who can create jobs.
“You keep talking about Made in India, Start-Up India, etc. And joblessness is only increasing. We had taken 27 crore people out of poverty. You have thrown 23 crore people back into poverty,” Gandhi said.
The Congress MP tore into the government over unemployment and said it was because of “your flawed vision that two Indias are being created”.
He referred to the protest of Railway aspirants in Bihar over jobs and said how the government was unable to provide jobs.
Gandhi also accused the government of using the judiciary, the Election Commission, and Pegasus spyware as “instruments of destroying the voice of the union of states”.
The Congress leader alleged that the wealth of the country was in the hands of a chosen few.
“I want to advise the PM that you are making two Indias. Please start working towards bringing the two Indias together. Stop sending the wealth of India to a chosen few…”, he said.
Speaking on foreign policy issues, Gandhi said that the present government’s stand on China and Pakistan worked only to bring the two neighbouring countries together to work against India. “The single biggest strategic goal of India has been to keep China and Pakistan apart. But what you have done is brought them together. You have committed the single biggest crime you can commit…China has a plan.
“The foundation of their (China and Pakistan) plan has been put in place in Doklam and Ladakh. This is a serious threat to India. We have made a huge strategic mistake in J&K and in our foreign policy,” he said.
Gandhi also said that the country was under seige both from within and from outside and cautioned the government of its dangers.
“The nation is now at risk from outside and inside and that is a very dangerous place for a nation to be in. This worries me,” he said.