The opposition seized the opportunity to launch a fusillade at the central government accusing it of assaulting and undermining India’s institutions, from CBI to RBI, and resolved to “work together to defeat the BJP, RSS combination.”
The news of RBI governor Urjit Patel’s resignation reached top Opposition leaders as they were chalking out a joint strategy to take on the BJP-led government in and outside Parliament after the results of the five state elections come in Tuesday.
They seized it to launch a fusillade at the central government accusing it of assaulting and undermining India’s institutions, from CBI to RBI, and resolved to “work together to defeat the BJP, RSS combination.”
From Congress president Rahul Gandhi to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu to CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, the chorus at the meeting, attended by 21 parties including Aam Aadmi Party, was that there was a need to stop this assault.
Banerjee proposed that the Opposition meet again Tuesday and meet President Ram Nath Kovind on the RBI issue. Yechury said the issue will be raised in Parliament.
“There was consensus in the room that we have to stop the BJP’s assault on our institutions, stop the assault on the CBI, on the RBI, on the Election Commission..on all institutions.. assault on the Constitution… There was consensus… that the BJP’s corruption on Rafale, demonetisation and other areas are simply unacceptable and we are going to fight it and we are going to do whatever we can to expose it. And there was a consensus that we are going to work together to defeat the BJP, RSS combination,” Congress president Rahul Gandhi said.
“What is happening, frankly, is that the government is getting more and more desperate. The Government is taking measures that are dangerous for our country. The RBI Governor has resigned because he is protecting the institution of the RBI and he is not able to function. Taking away the reserves from the RBI to save your skin, to atone for the sins that you have done, to try and fix the mismanagement that you have done is an act that is against this nation,” Gandhi added.
“Institutions, from the CBI to the RBI, have become total disasters. This has never happened before… The BJP is behaving like a dictator. There should be a campaign against this rule. Everybody has agreed to that,” Banerjee said. “Financial stability is not there… financial emergency has started,” she said.
Naidu said the fight is to “save India” and its democratic institutions. “That is the main motive that we have all joined together. It is a nation’s voice. For the last so many days, attacks on institutions, CBI, ED, income tax..how they misused and today the RBI. The RBI Governor has resigned. What is the reason? There is so much of pressure from Government of India. Give surplus, give money… And whenever they say something…they are always attacking the RBI Governor,” he said.
Opposition leaders praised Patel. Naidu said Patel had tried his best to protect the economy and the nation in the interest of the people. “Finally he is unable to bare the stress and resigned. It is very bad for the nation. What is going to happen tomorrow? Already, the economy is in doldrums, farmers are in trouble…minorities and SCs are insecure…that is why irrespective of our political compulsion…we joined here…we want to protect the nation, save this nation..protect the institutions,” Naidu added.
Yechury said the RBI governor was pushed into a corner and had no option but to resign. “It speaks volumes of how independent institutions are being interfered with by this Modi government,” he said.”
All Opposition leaders, he said, were of the view that the focus should be now on Parliament. The Opposition has decided to demand a JPC probe into Rafale fighter jet deal and demonetisation and raise issues like agrarian distress and growing joblessness. “We are also going to have similar coordination in the future, we are going to work both inside Parliament and outside,” Gandhi said.
A joint statement which was to be issued by the parties had to be tweaked to incorporate Patel’s sudden resignation.
“India needs a truthful government that does not propagate falsehoods and does not make bogus claims, that steadfastly follows Constitutional values and conventions in letter and spirit, that respects the autonomy of institutions, and that will banish the current all-pervasive atmosphere of fear and intimidation. A case in point is the sinister attack on autonomy of Reserve Bank of India by Modi government that has led to the unceremonious exit of RBI Governor today. We deprecate the systematic attack by the government on India’s Economy through a select band of government nominees arbitrarily dictating the Monitory Policies and compromising RBI’s institutional integrity,” it said.
Former finance minister P Chidambaram said he was saddened but not surprised by Patel’s resignation.
“No self-respecting scholar or academic can work in this government. Dr Patel may have thought that government will re-trace its steps. I knew it would not. Good he quit before another humiliating meeting. November 19 was the day of reckoning. Dr Patel should have resigned on that day,” he said.