I dare PM Modi to face the youth on the streets : Rahul Gandhi after opposition meet
"The Constitution is being undermined and the instruments of governance are being misused. Students and the young have in particular been targeted," Sonia Gandhi said during an opposition party meeting in New Delhi on Monday.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi after a meeting of 20 opposition parties, held at the Parliament Annexe. Attacking the Modi government, Gandhi said that they are deliberately triggering unrest to "distract and divert" attention from the real issues such as economic slowdown and unemployment.
Gandhi dared PM Modi to face the youth and students of the country, who are protesting on the streets, without any security. "Thousands of students, from all religions and communities, have come out. There is a feeling of anger and fear in our students and youth," he said. "PM Modi doesn't have guts to face the students and youth."
On Monday, the Congress party had called the first large meeting of the opposition parties of this year. Twenty Opposition parties - both national and regional - were part of this meeting called to discuss the series of protests triggered by the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the crackdown on the students and the universities.
"The real issue facing India today is the collapse of economic activity and slowing growth and development affecting all sections of society, especially the poor and disadvantaged," said Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who convened the meeting.
"The Prime Minister and Home Minister have no answers and want to divert the nation’s attention from this grim reality by raising one divisive and polarizing issue after another. It is for us to work together and thwart the designs of this government," she said. Coming down heavily on the Uttar Pradesh and Delhi police, she claimed that their response towards the anti-CAA protests has been shockingly "partisan and brutal".
Gandhi accused the government of letting loose "reign of oppression, spreading hatred and trying to divide our people along sectarian lines," leading to an "unprecedented turmoil". "The Constitution is being undermined and the instruments of governance are being misused. Students and the young have in particular been targeted," she said.
Raking up the issue of the police crackdown on university campuses, the Congress president had said, "the nation has watched in horror at the BJP-orchestrated assault on JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) coming so soon after what happened in Jamia (Jamia Milia Islamia), BHU( Banaras Hindu University), Allahabad University and AMU (Aligarh Muslim University) and other institutions of higher learning in other parts of the country." She claimed that the "Modi-Shah government stands totally exposed."
A resolution was passed by the opposition leaders against the CAA and NRC and police crackdown on the students and youth.
Former PM Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, National Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury, and former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ally Upendra Kushwaha were part of the meeting of the twenty opposition parties. Notably, leaders from Farooq Abdullah’s National Conference (NC) and Mehbooba Mufti’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were part of this Opposition meet.
However, despite all attempts of showing opposition unity, cracks were visible in the camp led by the Congress. West Bengal CM, Mamata Banerjee had refused to send any All India Trinamool Congress leader. Both the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party leaders were mysteriously missing. Notably, Congress ally Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leaders too skipped the meeting and the Aam Aadmi Party was not even invited.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad tried to reject the questions related to cracks in the Opposition unity by saying, "even though Mamata Banerjee, BSP and SP were not part of this meeting but they are with us as far as the CAA and NRC is concerned".
Importantly, the resolution passed by the opposition parties demands the Modi government to repeal the CAA and the stop plans of rolling out the National Population Register (NPR) and the NRC. The CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, while interacting with the media, said, on the lines of Kerala the 13 non-BJP state governments should block the implementation of the CAA.
The Opposition parties have decided to hold programmes against the CAA and the NPR-NRC on January 23rd (birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose), 26th (Republic Day) and January 30th (martyrdom day of Mahatma Gandhi).