Rahul Gandhi: India witnessing death of democracy, onset of dictatorship

Launching a scathing attack on the BJP-led central government, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday said India is witnessing the “death of democracy” and that those who are standing up against the “onset of dictatorship” are being viciously attacked, arrested and jailed.

The Congress high command has given a call to party units to hold protests across the country on Friday over price rise, unemployment and hike in GST rates of essential commodities. In Delhi, party MPs are planning to take out a march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan and senior leaders, including Congress Working Committee (CWC) members, are to demonstrate outside the Prime Minister’s residence.

“How are you enjoying the onset of dictatorship in India… how do you feel about the death of democracy,” Gandhi asked as he began addressing a press conference at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters in Delhi.

“What we are witnessing is the death of democracy. That is what India is witnessing. What India has built brick by brick, starting almost a century ago, is basically being destroyed in front of your eyes. All of you know it. The whole of India knows it. Anybody who stands against this idea – of the onset of dictatorship – doesn’t matter who he is, where he comes from, which state, which religion, male or female… he is viciously attacked, put in jail, arrested, beaten up.” Rahul Gandhi said.

“The idea is that people’s issues, whether they are price rise, unemployment, violence in society… people’s issues must not be raised. That is the sole agenda of the government and the government is being run to protect the interests of four or five people and this dictatorship is being run in the interest of two or three big business people by two people,” he added.

Gandhi said there is no democracy in India today. “It is a dictatorship by four people. We want to raise the issues of price rise, unemployment and the attempts to divide the society… We want to discuss this here and in Parliament. We are not allowed to speak. Debates not allowed in Parliament. We are arrested. This is the situation of India today,” he said.

“Democracy is now a memory in India. It is nothing more. And there are consequences to this. You will see there are going to be devastating consequences to this. Because the people of India are not going to keep quiet,” he said.

He said the reality of price rise and the perception created about it is completely different. For instance, he said, the reality of the Start-up India programme is different from what is on the ground. Similarly, the government’s claims on Covid-19 deaths and unemployment are completely different from the reality. “They lie 24×7. There is no price rise, China has not intruded…,” he said.

Rahul Gandhi also hit out at Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman when asked about her remarks that India’s macroeconomic fundamentals are strong. “The macroeconomic fundamentals that she is talking about is something else. I don’t think the Finance Minister has any understanding of what is going on in the economy of India. Zero understanding. She is there as a mouthpiece. She has absolutely no understanding.”

“If she had understanding, we would not have been in the situation we are in. The entire job creation system of India has been destroyed. Small and medium businesses have been wiped out. We have a GST which is a disaster. Ask any state and they will tell you this… the GST is a disaster. We have the highest unemployment… price rise across the board and the Finance Minister is saying there is no problem,” he said.

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