Sonia: Subtle signals of intolerance since NDA came to power

Aug 14 2014, 10:14 IST
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Summaryparliamentary party meet: Congress chief says reduced in numbers but not in spirit.

After Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, party chief Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday launched a scathing attack on the BJP government over rise in communal incidents. Arguing that incidents of communal violence have increased alarmingly ever since the BJP came to power, she said there have also been “subtle but pernicious signals of intolerance” after the change of guard.

Addressing the Congress Parliamentary Party meeting, a combative Sonia said, “Already, since the BJP has come to power there has been an alarming increase in number of incidents of communal violence. We have had hundreds of incidents of communal violence and rioting in UP, Haryana and Maharashtra and a number of other states. In addition, there have been other subtle but pernicious signals of intolerance,” Sonia said.

“There is a great deal of concern throughout the country, particularly among women, minorities and the poor, about whether the BJP and its sister organisations mean to work for all of India’s communities, or whether they seek to profit from dividing the nation on sectarian lines. In my mind, I have no doubt about the answer,” she said.

This is the second time that Sonia has targeted the Modi government over the increase in incidents of communal violence after Rahul led a spirited attack on the issue.

Sonia also spoke about the “atrocious behaviour of some BJP legislators and the unacceptable views expressed by others in complete disregard of our time-honoured secular traditions and constitutional propriety.”

Reminding the MPs that the party may have been reduced in numbers but not “in spirit”, Sonia said “it is our task to play the role of a vigilant opposition, to stand up for the values and policies of the Indian National Congress, and to resist the authoritarian and sectarian tendencies of the new government as it tries to get its way in Parliament. This we have begun to do, I believe, with increasing effectiveness.”

“The moment they betray the ideals on which this nation was built; the moment they pursue the politics of division and hatred; the moment they try to behave dictatorially inside or outside this temple of Indian democracy - the moment they do any of these things, we will stand up and fight them,” she said. Sonia said the process of rebuilding and restoring the confidence of the public in the Congress has begun and asserted “our work in Parliament is the foundation of this process”.

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