Congress accuses govt of ‘undermining, weakening’ democracy amid Adani issue, Rahul’s UK remarks row

Rahul Gandhi's remarks during his recent trip to the United Kingdom have rocked Parliament, with both Houses failing to transact any significant business

Updated - March 15, 2023 05:51 pm IST

Published - March 15, 2023 05:39 pm IST - New Delhi

Congress leader Supriya Shrinate at a press conference at AICC HQ in New Delhi, Friday, March 3, 2023.

Congress leader Supriya Shrinate at a press conference at AICC HQ in New Delhi, Friday, March 3, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Congress on March 15 accused the Modi Government of “undermining and weakening” democracy in the country by stalling Parliament in order to save a businessman.

“What the government is doing in Parliament is proof that democracy in the country is being undermined,” Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate told reporters.

She said it is the duty of everyone to save democracy in the country and also of the media.

“The manner in which the BJP is destroying democracy in the country both inside and outside Parliament is in itself proof of how democracy is being weakened in the country,” she alleged, adding any statement about the Adani Group is expunged.

Citing arrest of a journalist for asking questions about the bad condition of roads in Uttar Pradesh and the elected government being run down with money power, she asked, “Is this not undermining democracy”.

Ms. Shrinate also targeted Union Minister Smriti Irani for her remarks against Rahul Gandhi, and accused her of heading the “troll ministry” in the Modi government which targets the former Congress chief.

Asking why the BJP is so “disturbed” about the remarks made by Mr. Gandhi, she said, “We feel that the uproar created inside Parliament is being spearheaded by the BJP itself and this is to save Adani”.

The Congress leader alleged that BJP members are stalling Parliament as they do not want any allegations to be made against the Adani Group inside Parliament and that is why Ministers are themselves disrupting the House.

“This is what is called undermining democracy and this is exactly what Rahul Gandhi has stated...Indian democracy is a public good and the fate of our democracy is going to decide democracies on this planet. This is the bigger issue,” she noted.

Taking on the TMC for not being a part of the Opposition march to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the Adani issue, she said, “The BJP is misusing agencies and these agencies have become a puppet and a frontal of the BJP and if one does not raise one’s voice against it then questions will be raised on one’s intentions and one’s role.” Ms. Shrinate said if the BJP has problems with Rahul Gandhi’s remarks, they should hear the Prime Minister’s remarks made in China, Korea and other countries.

“Why is the ruling establishment scared of the question”, she asked, adding that if the government thinks what Rahul Gandhi has said is wrong, “let the issue be discussed in Parliament”.

“When a Congress MP speaks on Adani in Parliament, 18 parts of his speech are expunged and the Leader of Opposition’s speech has been expunged in Rajya Sabha. Is that not weakening democracy,” she asked.

“Is the weakening of democracy not vivid when journalists are being arrested for asking tough questions. Is it not weakening democracy when elected governments are toppled through money power and through misuse of agencies.

“Is it not weakening of agencies when 95% of cases by ED are against Opposition parties and there has been a four-fold increase of cases filed by the agency.”

“Is it not weakening democracy when you put every democratic value at bay? Have you ever heard ruling party members standing and stalling Parliament so that the Adani issue is not raised in Parliament and you think questions will not be raised,” she said.

Attacking Ms. Irani, she said, the ‘tukde-tukde’ gang was started by Mr. Savarkar when he espoused division of country and it is being allegedly continued by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he is trying to divide the country on the basis of region, religion, caste, creed, language and now even states are made to fight with each other.

Kapil Sibal lashes out at Modi Government

Amid a political storm over Rahul Gandhi's "democracy under attack" remarks made in the U.K., Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal also said that criticising the government whether at home or abroad is a citizen's right and does not amount to criticising India or being unpatriotic.

Mr. Gandhi's remarks during his recent trip to the United Kingdom have rocked Parliament, with both Houses failing to transact any significant business on the first three days of the Budget session's second half.

In a tweet, former Union Minister Sibal said, "House Logjam, Why? Government is not synonymous with India, India is not synonymous with the Government. Criticising the Government whether at home or abroad is a citizen's right. That does not amount to criticising India or being unpatriotic."

"Modi ji did it often in the past," added Mr. Sibal, the eminent lawyer who on March 11 had laid down the agenda and a new vision for the country with his newly-launched platform 'Insaaf' that is aimed at fighting injustice.

During his interactions in the U.K., Mr. Gandhi alleged that the structures of Indian democracy are under attack and there is a "full-scale assault" on the country's institutions.

The former Congress president also told British Parliamentarians in London that microphones are often "turned off" in Lok Sabha when an Opposition member raises important issues.

Mr. Gandhi's remarks triggered a political slugfest, with the BJP accusing him of maligning India on foreign soil and seeking foreign interventions, and the Congress hitting back at the ruling party by citing instances of Prime Minister Modi raising internal politics abroad.

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