He preaches consensus but promotes conflict… Sonia Gandhi attacks PM Modi

Ananya Shroff
9 Min Read

New Delhi : On June 4, 2024, the people of the country gave their verdict clearly and loudly. This verdict was a sign of personal, political and moral defeat of a Prime Minister who had given himself the status of God during the election campaign. This mandate not only rejected such claims, but also clearly rejected the politics of division, discord and hatred. The public rejected both the way and style of working of the Narendra Modi government. Senior Congress leader Sonia Gandhi He has launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. By writing an article in 'The Hindu', he has raised questions on the attitude of the Modi government.

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Sonia Gandhi said in her article that Prime Minister Modi says one thing and does another. The Prime Minister is acting as if nothing has happened. He preaches the lesson of consensus but values ​​confrontation. There is not the slightest evidence that he has accepted the election results or understood the mandate and considered the message given by millions of voters. The first few days of the 18th Lok Sabha have sadly not been encouraging. Any hope of a change in his attitude has also ended. It was hoped that a new spirit of mutual respect and harmony would be promoted, but this did not happen.

I would like to remind readers what India's coalition parties told the Prime Minister when the Prime Minister's emissaries sought a consensus for the post of Lok Sabha Speaker. The answer was simple and clear, we said we would support the government – but in keeping with tradition and custom, it was proper and expected that the post of Deputy Speaker be given to a member of the Opposition. This perfectly reasonable request was found unacceptable by a regime that had not filled the constitutional post of Deputy Speaker in the 17th Lok Sabha.

And then, the issue of emergency was raised by the Prime Minister and his party – surprisingly, that too through the Speaker, whose position is incompatible with any public political stance other than strict impartiality. This attempt to divert attention from the attack on the Constitution, its core principles and values, and the institutions it created and empowered does not bode well for the smooth functioning of Parliament.

It is a historical fact that in March 1977, the people of our country gave a clear verdict on the Emergency, which was accepted without hesitation and unambiguously. It is also a part of history that the party that was humiliated in March 1977 returned to power in less than three years, that too with a majority that Narendra Modi and his party have never been able to achieve.

We need to look further into the issues that require full debate. The bizarre and unprecedented suspension of 146 MPs who were legitimately demanding a discussion on the reprehensible breach of Parliament’s security was clearly a way to ensure that three far-reaching criminal justice laws could be passed without any discussion. Many legal experts and many others have expressed serious concerns about these laws. Should these laws not be kept in abeyance until they are subjected to full parliamentary scrutiny in line with accepted parliamentary practice and especially when the 2024 electoral verdict is on the table? Similarly, last year amendments to the forest conservation and biodiversity protection forest laws were made when there was chaos and disorder in Parliament. The Great Nicobar Project is being pushed through, leading to an ecological and humanitarian disaster awaiting us. Should these not also be reconsidered to make the Prime Minister’s desire to build consensus and pass laws after full debate and discussion come to fruition?

On the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) scam, which has devastated the lives of lakhs of our young people. The immediate reaction of the Education Minister was to deny the gravity of what has happened. The Prime Minister who holds his 'Pariksha Pe Charcha' is conspicuously silent on the leaks that have devastated so many families across the country. The obligatory 'high powered committees' have been set up, but the real issue is how the professionalism of educational institutions like the National Council of Educational Research and Training, the University Grants Commission and the universities themselves has been so damaged in the last 10 years.

Meanwhile, the campaign of violence and intimidation against India’s minorities has once again intensified. In Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled states, bulldozers are again demolishing minority homes based on mere allegations, violating due process and meting out collective punishment. Given that the prime minister spewed communal slurs and lies during the election campaign, this is no surprise. He has stepped up his provocative rhetoric out of fear that the election is slipping out of his hands, demonstrating a total disrespect for the dignity and decorum of his office.

The BJP and its allies won a landslide majority in the Manipur Assembly elections in February 2022. Yet, within 15 months, Manipur began to burn – or rather, was allowed to burn. Hundreds of people were killed and thousands displaced. Social harmony in this most sensitive state has been disrupted. Yet, the Prime Minister has neither the time nor the inclination to visit the state or meet its political leaders. Not surprisingly, his party has lost both Lok Sabha seats there, but that has not diminished his most insensitive handling of the crisis engulfing Manipur’s diverse society.

The Prime Minister has let himself down with his forty-day long campaign. His words have caused irreparable damage to our social fabric and the dignity of the office he takes pride in. It is time for him to introspect and recognise that by rejecting his call for more than 400 parliamentary seats, our crores of voters – to whom he promises Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas – have sent a powerful message.

The All India Alliance parties have made it clear that they do not want a confrontational approach. Leader of the Opposition Rahul Gandhi has offered cooperation. The leaders of the alliance partners have made it clear that they want productivity in Parliament and fairness in the conduct of its proceedings. We hope that the Prime Minister and his government will respond positively. The initial evidence is not good, but we opposition parties are committed to restoring balance and productivity in Parliament to ensure that the voices of the millions of people who have sent us as their representatives are heard and their concerns are raised and addressed. We hope that the ruling party will come forward so that we can discharge our democratic duties.

Sonia Gandhi, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), is the chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party.

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