Monday April 23, 2018
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Congress to stage protest march to Rashtrapati Bhavan against ‘rising intolerance’

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New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi will lead her party’s protest march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Tuesday against “rising intolerance” under the BJP-led regime, but the government dismissed the talk of intolerance as a “perception being manufactured by certain sections” against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Congress leaders said the march on Tuesday would include party vice president Rahul Gandhi, members of the Congress Working committee, party office-bearers and party MPs. The party also slammed Modi for his barbs at the Congress over the anti-Sikh riots in 1984.

The march will start from Parliament House and party leaders are expected to give a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee to convey their concern on “rising intolerance”.

Sonia Gandhi met the president on Monday evening, but party sources termed it as “personal” meeting. The meeting came on a day Modi targeted her, saying Congress leaders had no right to talk about tolerance when they were involved in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

“Madam Soniaji, do you remember 1984? What happened in Delhi? Sikhs were killed. Serious charges were made against the Congress. Ironically, now the Congress talks of tolerance,” Modi said at an election rally in Purnea in Bihar.

He said after two Sikh bodyguards assassinated then prime minister Indira Gandhi, innocent Sikhs “were killed in broad daylight… And the Congress is giving lectures on tolerance”.

Congress leader Anand Sharma reacted sharply to Modi’s remarks, saying his comments were “politically motivated” and “a mischievous attempt to reopen the wounds of 31 years”.

He said riots followed the assassination of former prime minister Indira Gandhi were “tragic” and “a sad chapter”, adding that successive governments have explored every possibility to provide a healing touch.

Sharma charged Modi with making the latest remarks to “divert attention from the rising concerns and fears in the country over orchestrated campaigns to create atmosphere of fear and intimidation”.

“Prime minister has chosen even now not to respond to the concerns expressed by eminent Indians who have made rich and notable contributions – scientists, authors, film producers, poets and others,” he said.

“He should not even think and act as a BJP leader or as an RSS pracharak (preacher) but fulfil and honor his constitutional duties and his moral duty as India’s prime minister,” he said.

Noting then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi had immediately gone out on the streets of Delhi to diffuse communal sentiments and calm people after reaching the capital of West Bengal in the wake of the assassination of his mother Indira Gandhi, he alleged Modi did not “utter a single word for three days” after the Gujarat riots of 2002 and “did not take effective measures to control the situation”.

Union minister M. Venkaiah Naidu hit back at the Congress.

“They are meeting the president to talk about rising intolerance. The Congress talking about intolerance is the joke of the century. It is like the devil quoting the scriptures,” Naidu told reporters here, claiming the Congress was “intolerant to the people’s mandate” that chose Modi as the prime minister.

Asked about concerns business leaders expressed last week over the vitiated atmosphere, Naidu said: “That’s not the words and phraseology they used. Some of them are misleading; others are misread.” He, however, conceded that some voices were “well-meaning” and were “naturally concerned”. “Our objection is to all these incidents being linked to PM Modi.”

He also cited “atrocities” committed in Congress ruled-states and in states ruled by “Congress-friendly parties”, noting the Dadri incident happened in Uttar Pradesh where the Samajwadi Party is in power, M.M. Kalburgi’s killing happened in Karnataka that is Congress-ruled, rationalist Narendra Dabholkar was killed in Maharashtra in August 2013 when the Congress was in power in the state.

Hitting out at writers, artistes, and other intellectuals protesting the sudden rise in communal attacks in the country, Naidu asked where these “conscience-keepers” were after the 1984 riots and also referred to “their silence” during the mass exodus and genocide of Kashmiri Pandits in the Kashmir Valley.

(IANS)

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Modi is anti-Dalit, will defeat BJP in 2019: Rahul Gandhi

Gandhi also accused the government of suppressing and intimidating the media

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Rahul Gandhi becomes president of Congress as mother Sonia Gandhi steps down
Rahul Gandhi steps in as President of Congress, Wikipedia

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government of being anti-Dalit and said his party will defeat the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Gandhi, who led his party’s day-long fast at Rajghat to highlight atrocities against Dalits and other communities, said party workers were protesting against an ideology, a way of thinking.

Rahul Gandhi becomes the president of Congress as mother Sonia Gandhi Steps Down
Rahul Gandhi is against Modi and his rule.

“The atmosphere that has been created in the country, it is due to the ideology of the BJP. BJP’s ideology is to divide the country, crush the Dalits, tribals, minorities. We are against the ideology of the BJP. We are standing against it today, we will stand against it throughout our lives. And we will defeat them in the 2019 elections,” Gandhi told reporters.

Asked about BJP Dalit MPs writing to Modi with their complaints, Gandhi said: “You talk to them in Parliament. They also tell us that Modiji is a casteist person, an anti-Dalit person. He has no place for Dalits in his heart, the whole country knows this. It is not a secret.”

Also Read: A voice of his own: Rahul Gandhi tries to impress Lok Sabha with his speech

Gandhi attacked BJP President Amit Shah for likening the coming together of opposition parties to “snakes, mongoose, dogs and cats” climbing a tree trunk to save themselves from floods. He said every person in the country was against the BJP.

“Some days back a BJP leader said that opposition members were animals. The truth is that today every person in the country is standing against the government. The approach that this government has against Dalits, tribals, minorities and farmers, we are standing against it,” he said. Gandhi said the country will not accept that Modi government “spreads violence, hatred in the country… We are standing here against this ideology.”

Raul Maino
Rahul Gandhi says Modi controls the Media. Twitter

Gandhi also accused the government of suppressing and intimidating the media. “You are standing on the other side but in actuality you are standing on our side as we are protecting you also. You are smiling, I know. We are fighting for you as well.” IANS