Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Monday lashed out at the Narendra Modi government at the Congress Working Committee saying that democracy, under the current government, was going through one of its darkest hours. He added that the NDA government was obsessed with power.
"Hiding behind the cloak of national security, civil society is being intimidated for asking questions... Asking questions is what discomforts this government, for they have no answers, we must expose the government's failures in the upcoming Parliament session... Democracy, under the present dispensation, is going through one of its darkest hours," Rahul said at the CWC meeting adding that the "opposition is being arrested for holding the government to account."
Rahul chaired the CWC meeting for the first time on Monday instead of his mother and Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who could not attend the meeting due to health issues. Top Congress leaders, including former prime minister Manmohan Singh, former finance minister P Chidambaram, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Janardan Dwivedi, Ahmed Patel, Ambika Soni and former defence minister AK Antony attended the meeting.
Rahul also slammed the one-day government ban imposed on the Hindi news channel NDTV India for their coverage of the Pathankot terror attack saying that "television channels are being punished and asked to shut down." The BJP government banned the channel for a day saying that it found the coverage "to be in violation of broadcasting norms."
However, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu slammed Rahul for his remarks saying that: "Democracy has never been this vibrant. People from all walks of life feel they have a say in government issues. During emergency, the Opposition was put behind bars, democratic rights were trampled, civil liberty was curtailed, censorship was imposed on the media. People who are criticising this action (ban on TV channels) are the same people who had put behind bars an artist for cartoons. Twenty-one channels were banned during UPA regime, some were banned for airing midnight masala."
Naidu added that the "BJP has never called any PM 'khoon ka dalal'. This is the kind of freedom people have now."
Rahul also slammed the government over the One Rank One Pension scheme issue and said that: "Our jawans are being cruelly rewarded by a callous government, with the denial of OROP and the cut in disability pensions."
However, Naidu lashed out at Rahul and the Congress Party and said: "Congress party is getting frustrated because they are losing state after state while we are worried about daylight portrayal of terror activities with running commentary on whereabouts of ammo depot, etc. Congress has no right to criticise. If they point fingers, it will revert to them."
The CWC meeting comes ahead of the Parliament's winter session that begins from November 16 in which the party plans to question the government on issues that also includes freedom of speech and expression.
Congress VP Rahul Gandhi chairs CWC meeting today in the absence of Sonia Gandhi, meeting underway (Inside visuals) pic.twitter.com/MXBqjzxOpt
— ANI (@ANI_news) November 7, 2016