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Congress slams government for erosion of democracy

P. Chidambaram

P. Chidambaram   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

In a series of tweets, the former Union Minister said the world is alarmed at the direction India is taking and every Indian needs to be alarmed to.

The Congress on Thursday targeted the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre for bringing India 10 places down in the global Democracy Index, with the former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram stating that “democracy has eroded and those in power are the real tukde tukde gang”.

In a series of tweets, the former Union minister said the world is alarmed at the direction India is taking and every Indian needs to be alarmed to.

“India has slipped 10 places in the Democracy Index. Anyone who has closely observed the events of the last two years knows that democracy has been eroded and democratic institutions have been debilitated. Those who are in power are the real tukde tukde gang,” Mr Chidambaram said.

“The world is alarmed by the direction India is taking. Every patriotic Indian should be alarmed too,” he added.

Addressing a press conference at the Congress headquarters, senior leader and Rajya Sabha member Abhishek Manu Singhvi pointed out that India has come down to 51st rank (from an earlier 41st rank0 for the first time ever since the Democracy Index was started by the research wing of The Economist magazine in 2006.

He said whether it was action against students by the Union government or imposition of Section 144 to prevent any assembly of people or insistence on uniformity of culture and language, everything has diminished democracy.

Mr Singhvi said an atmosphere of fear and distrust now prevails and it has been accentuated with the new Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR).

“There is a cocktail of suspicion and distrust against the government and this should be avoided. When the atmosphere is of fear, trust deficit is humongous and when you have such rules then fear increases ten times,” he said.

Commenting on Home Minister Amit Shah’s recent statement that the CAA won’t be withdrawn despite the protests, the Congress spokesperson said it shows apathy towards the citizens of this country and said the BJP was now Bharatiya Jiddi (stubborn) Party.

“It is the people who are afraid of this government while the government should have been afraid of the people; when it is called the ‘death of democracy’ it’s not a sudden ambush but its slow extinction due to apathy, indifference and undernourishment,” Mr. Singhvi said.

He also criticised Union Minister Prakash Javadekar for saying certain columns in the NPR were only optional.

“When it is optional, then why is it there. Chances are that if the optional column is not filled, the person can be put in the doubtful [voter] list,” he said.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 6:57:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cong-slams-govt-for-erosion-of-democracy/article30635594.ece

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