Kharge attacks govt for diverting attention from basic issues by coining slogans - Hindustan Times

Kharge attacks govt for diverting attention from basic issues by coining slogans

Sep 16, 2023 07:51 PM IST

In the first meeting of the CWC, after its reconstitution on August 20, Mallikarjun Kharge listed a number of raging issues, demanded a caste census.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Saturday slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government at the Centre, saying whenever the Congress questions the government on basic issues such as inflation and unemployment, the government gives new slogans.

Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at CWC meeting in Hyderabad (Twitter/@kharge)
Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at CWC meeting in Hyderabad (Twitter/@kharge)

“Whenever opposition parties raise these basic issues, instead of giving answers, the government adopts new tactics and gives new slogans. Slogans like ‘Self-reliant India’, ‘5 trillion economy’, ‘New India 2022’ and ‘Amritkaal’ were given,” Kharge said in his opening address at the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting in Hyderabad on Saturday.

The Congress president also asked his party leaders to explain to the people that such slogans would not bring progress to the country.

“Nowadays the government is selling the dream of ‘3rd largest economy’. The country will not progress through slogans. We have to explain to the public that these are slogans to hide failures. The government thinks that it will hide failures like Himalaya by spending crores of rupees on events and advertisements,” Kharge added.

In the first meeting of the CWC, after its reconstitution on August 20, Kharge listed a number of raging issues, demanded a caste census and reminded the party of its immediate challenge– the upcoming assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

At the same time, Kharge also questioned the BJP’s exuberance over the G20 Summit and said: “We all are seeing how the government is engrossed in its own praise after the G20 event. Rs.4,000 crore was spent in Delhi on the G20 meeting to be held by rotation and now Brazil has got the leadership of G20 in rotation.”

Quoting India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s speech “Although we neither have any great military power nor any good economic or financial power, yet the respect of this country in the panchayat of nations is increasing day by day. It has been 5 years since independence, but in such a short time, India has gained a lot of respect and along with it new responsibilities have increased. There is hardly any example in history that a country has achieved such importance within five years of independence”, Kharge pointed out that from 1953 itself, India’s status in the world began to develop.

“I hope that the Modi government will stop celebrating and focus on public concerns and burning issues,” he added.

Kharge further hailed the success of the three meetings conducted by the Opposition Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc, which now consists of 28 parties, and quipped that the INDIA’s success “can be gauged from the attacks of PM and BJP leaders. As our caravan progresses, their attacks will intensify.”

After the Mumbai meeting of the INDIA alliance, the government deployed the Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax and Crime Bureau of Investigation to take “political revenge” on the opposition leaders, Kharge said, adding that this is against the spirit of “healthy democracy, but sadly this is the reality”.

The Congress president said that some concrete decisions will be taken at the CWC, which has been called three months before the assembly elections in five states including Telangana.

Kharge also pointed out to the ethnic violence in Manipur and recent communal clashes in Haryana and said the country is facing “serious internal challenges.”

“Today the country is facing many serious internal challenges. The whole world witnessed the heart-wrenching incidents in Manipur. Violence continues there even today from 3 May 2023. Modi government allowed the fire in Manipur to reach Nuh in Haryana. Incidents of violence took place here, due to which communal tension spread in Rajasthan, UP and Delhi,” Kharge alleged.

“These incidents tarnish the image of modern, progressive and secular India. In such a situation, the ruling party, communal organizations and a section of the media add fuel to the fire,” he said.

The Congress chief said such incidents spoil the “equity of all religions” and the party will “have to identify and expose such forces together.”

Kharge also mentioned that the country’s economy is in “great danger”, pointing out high inflation, record unemployment and the top 1% of the country accumulating 40% of the country’s wealth.

“Inflation is a threat to the lives of the poor and common people. The price of an ordinary thali has increased by 65% in the last 5 years. 74% of people are deprived of nutritious food. The price of pulses has increased by 37% in a year. 65% of the population in our country is youth. The record unemployment rate is continuously trampling their dreams. The future of the youth is in darkness,” Kharge said, listing some of the key talking points of the principal Opposition party in the run-up to the elections.

“There is a need to consider that today the top 1% of the richest people of the country have 40% of the country’s wealth, while the bottom 50% of the people have only 3% of the wealth. Due to government policies, the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer. The gap between them is continuously deepening,” Kharge alleged.

While he did not name the Adani Group, the Congress chief said: “Recently, investment worth Rs.20,000 crore was made by shell companies in the companies of businessmen close to the PM. Even after it was exposed, the Modi government is not conducting an investigation. The government is silent on all the big scams and is covering them up.”

Kharge once again pitched for a caste census and asked the Centre to make the 2011 socio-economic caste census data public—a hot topic for the party and the INDIA alliance.

“Our demand is that the process of the 2021 census should be started immediately. Along with that, caste census should also be conducted, so that the needy section of the society can get other rights including health, education, employment, food security,” Kharge said.

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