New Delhi: Buoyed by government retreating on the land ordinance, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying he has been 'reduced to unedifying flip flops' and most of his poll promises were nothing more than 'hawabaazi' (empty talk).
India Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi (L) and Vice President Rahul Gandhi look on during a Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting in New Delhi on September 8, 2015. Pic/AFP
Giving credit to the campaign by Congress workers against land bill 'under active guidance' of Rahul Gandhi for the government climbdown, Gandhi spoke of launching 'similar' action against the 'assault' on issues like labour reforms, women and child development, RTI and MGNREGA. She alleged Modi government has 'failed abysmally' to match words with deeds, media events with actual accomplishments and headlines with substance.
"The U-turn on the land ordinance is evidence that the government is out of touch with ground realities. It has become painfully clear that most of the pledges made by the Prime Minister during his election campaign were nothing more than hawabaazi," she said at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee in New Delhi.
In the first meeting of the CWC since the Prime Minister declared that land ordinance would not be repromulgated, Gandhi said that due to Congress' sustained campaign, the government has been compelled to withdraw its 'anti-farmer' amendments. "The credit for this goes to every worker of the Congress Party, who under Rahul's active guidance, carried out a sustained agitation", Gandhi said, hailing the leadership of the Congress Vice President to the cause of farmers.
She also said that this became possible due to all like minded political parties and all members of civil society who joined hands with Congress in this fight. Expressing concern over considerable deterioration in the security situation in India's neighbourhood, she said jawans and civilians are being increasingly targeted. "Instead of a coherent policy on Pakistan, this government can't seem to make up its mind on what it should do," she said.
"From aggressively mocking Manmohan Singh and his policy during the election campaign, the Prime Minister has been reduced to unedifying flip-flops, casting doubts on what he really stands for," she said.
The economy is on a downward slide while prices continue on their unrelenting rise, she said, adding that the Modi Government has 'failed abysmally to match words with deeds, to match media events with actual accomplishments, to match headlines with substance.'
As for promises such as the creation of jobs or slogans such as Make in India, the less said about them the better, she said. She also charged the government with 'systematically eroding' the autonomy and integrity of vital institutions which have stood the country in good stead.
In an apparent reference to the killing of Govind Pansare and M M Kalburgi, she said writers and progressive thinkers are being physically eliminated. In the backdrop of some news channels being served notices over their coverage, Gandhi alleged that the media is being threatened with notices and other repressive measures.
Gandhi also deprecated attempts to 'revamp' the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library and some other cultural organisations. "History is sought to be rewritten with special targeting of Jawaharlal Nehru, the architect of modern India and builder of democratic institutions," she said.
Gandhi told the CWC that these developments had hardly come as a surprise. "The country last week was given clear evidence of what has been obvious for a long time¿ that the Modi government is controlled and directed by the RSS, whose agenda is well known to all of us," she said in an obvious reference to a meeting of top Ministers, BJP leaders and the RSS top brass which was also attended by the PM in New Delhi.
At the outset, the Congress President recalled that the last CWC meeting was held just two weeks after the Modi Government had first promulgated its 'draconian' Land Ordinance. "For reasons best known to it, the Modi-Government chose to disregard the will of Parliament and displayed an inexplicable hurry to snatch lands from our farmers," she said.
Gandhi said now similar campaigns need to be mounted against the assault on tribal welfare, on women and child welfare, on labour laws, on laws that protect the environment and forests, on RTI and "on our flagship initiatives like MGNREGA which are being systematically undermined."
The Congress chief said that farmers are even today under 'great distress' because of excess rain or drought conditions, and no adequate relief was reaching them due to the government's 'insensitivity' to their plight.