The disqualification of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi from the Lok Sabha is a dark moment in the history of democracy in the country. The events leading up to the disqualification have been manipulated by the Bharatiya Janata Party. However, it will be fought and at the appropriate forum, said Mallikarjun Kharge, president of All India Congress Committee, on Thursday.
He said the Narendra Modi-led Union government allowed the entire drama to play out. The lightning speed with which the trial court convicted Mr. Gandhi, his disqualification, and possible eviction from his official residence betrayed how vindictive Mr. Modi was. The Prime Minister was orchestrating the action against the Congress leader just because he asked a few simple questions to him in Parliament, Mr. Kharge added.
Mr. Kharge said the Prime Minister appeared to be in no position to explain his relation with the Adani group and its head Gautam Adani. Mr. Modi appeared ready to sacrifice everything, including the hard earned money of poor workers, to help Mr. Adani.
Mr. Kharge said money from public sector institutions, including EPFO and the Life Insurance Corporation and public sector banks such as the SBI and Punjab National Bank, were being put at the disposal of the Adani group for the latter to buy out public sector undertakings.
He was inaugurating the year-long centenary celebrations of the Vaikom Satyagraha organised by the Congress. The success of the Vaikom Satyagraha paved the way for establishing the rights, honour and dignity of all groups of people in society, he said.
Mr. Kharge said the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh had nothing to do with fighting for the rights of the downtrodden in the Vaikom Satyagraha. It was the Congress that took up the cause of the people who were not even allowed to use the roads surrounding the Vaikom temple.
Mr. Kharge said he was proud to be part of the celebrations of the Vaikom Satyagraha and recalled that it was at the Belgaum session of the Congress that an elaborate resolution was passed in the party forum to launch action against the restrictions on people imposed by the Vaikom temple authorities. At that time, Mr. Kharge said Mahatma Gandhi was the AICC president.
A message from Rahul Gandhi, read out during the inauguration, said that Vaikom satyagraha marked a significant victory for all. It is sad and difficult, he said, to remember that such atrocities had taken place in the country. The Satyagraha inspired leaders, including B. R. Ambedkar, and has enduring significance.
Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan said the centenary celebrations was an occasion to take the light of the Vaikom Satyagraha to the new generation. “The light of the struggle is still with us,” he added.
K. Sudhakaran, KPCC president, said the example set by the Vaikom Satyagraha had its impact on other States too.