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‘Democracy sought to be replaced by autocracy’: Sonia Gandhi targets Centre in I-Day op-ed

Sonia Gandhi

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has come down heavily upon the Narendra Modi-led Centre, saying that the democracy is sought to be replaced by an autocracy.

Pointing out the challenges before the country as it entered the 75th year of Independence Day, Gandhi said that recent years have seen a “reversal of our nation’s progress” on several fronts.

“Over three-quarters of a century we have nurtured a vibrant democracy with deep roots. We have achieved self-sufficiency in food production. We have created one of the world’s largest economies and lifted the greatest number of people in the world out of poverty and disease through democratic means. We have built one of the largest, strongest military forces and a pioneering space mission…Unfortunately, recent years have seen a reversal of our nation’s progress on multiple fronts,” she said in an op-ed.

She further said that the recently concluded Monsoon Session of Parliament displayed the disdain of the present government towards parliamentary processes and building consensus.

“The opposition was repeatedly denied an opportunity to raise issues of national importance –– destructive farm laws, the use of military grade software to hack into devices belonging to constitutional figures, political opponents, journalists and activists, runaway inflation and unemployment.”

Gandhi said that several laws have been passed without debate in the House or scrutiny by a Committee over the past seven years, turning Parliament into a rubber stamp.

The Congress leader also said that democratically-elected state governments have been toppled, disrespecting people’s mandates and the media has been systematically intimidated and arm-twisted into forgetting its responsibility to speak truth to power.

“Institutions that were carefully built and nurtured to provide the structure of true democracy have been systematically degenerated or destroyed, eroding the values that give substance to the inalienable right of our people to equality, justice and individual freedom,” she added.

Mounting her attack at the Centre, she said that the country have been witness to the worst sustained economic decline in these past 75 years.

“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit India, the momentum built up in recent years was dissipated through irrational and ill-advised initiatives that had no economic rationale,” she added.

She also said that decades of progress in improving health care have been reversed by the mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Lives and livelihoods have been devastated as a result of hubris and bad planning. We legitimately take pride in being the world’s largest producer of vaccines. Yet, the percentage of our population who are fully vaccinated is very low due to an inordinate delay in placing orders, leaving us vulnerable to future waves at a time when our people are struggling to return to some semblance of normalcy,” she said.

Gandhi also hit out at the Centre for refusing to heed to legitimate concerns of farmers.

“It is imperative that the government must reach out and address their demands. We must ensure that those who feed us do not themselves starve,” she added.

She also slammed the Centre over the “misuse of laws and government agencies”, saying that laws that are specifically targeted at terrorists are being misused against anyone who dares to question the Prime Minister and his government.

“After decades of progress towards an India of our dreams, why is our democracy in danger? It is because tangible achievements have been substituted by hollow slogans, event management and brand-building only to benefit those in power – at the expense of governance. It is because symbolism has triumphed over meaningful action. It is because democracy is sought to be replaced by an autocracy. Today’s symbolism and reality is that Parliament House is being turned into a museum,” she underscore

 

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