New Delhi: The Congress leadership is of the view that it has been successful in “exposing” the real face of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre in the past year and a half.
It has conveyed to the state presidents at the Congress headquarters on Friday (and in an informal meeting later that day) that the party had managed to nail the government on various issues such as the Goods and Services Tax (GST), MGNREGA and the Land Acquisition Act. People who praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi highly when he was elected, are disillusioned now, was the message.
“We’ve been attacking the government for being anti-poor, anti-farmer, anti-labourer and anti-worker. We are not going to let the BJP run a government that acts only in the interest of three or four crony capitalists. In one-and-a half years, we have exposed the true image of the BJP," sources quoted the top leadership as saying.
At the meeting with the PCC presidents, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi sought to get a sense of what was being done with regard to MNREGA, the Right to Food, the Tribal Bill in their respective states and how the BJP has been trying to destroy these.
On the passage of the GST Bill in Rajya Sabha and its implementation, the party is of the impression that the BJP would never let GST be implemented, simply because the RSS doesn’t want it now. It’ll hit their core support base. "The Congress always believed it to be a good initiative, but it has put three conditions that need to be accepted by the government. We want GST to be a mechanism that will benefit people,” the source conveyed.
It also wants party leaders and workers to attack the Sangh ecosystem by using the “irritation that RSS causes” through its words and actions. “We have to work on that ‘irritation’, because whatever RSS is doing is not benefiting the poor and the common man. The students fear losing their freedom of expression… they (the Sangh) are alienating everyone. The government wants a single ideology to be implemented in educational institutions and academia in the country. For the RSS, if you don’t agree with their views or ideology, then you’re an anti-national. Gradually, people are getting irritated by this authoritarian tendency. The Congress won’t tolerate it and the prime minister's dream of making ‘Bharat Congress-mukt’ will never happen,” the source added.
The Congress that has been accusing the Modi government of centralising power in the hands of only “one man — the Prime Minister” drew a comparison between Modi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The leadership opined that Kejriwal exhibited the same streak through his functioning as Modi in concentrating power.
“Right from the beginning, the Congress believed in the decentralisation of power; power that it wants to provide to the states in order to rejuvenate the party. We have new faces as PCC chiefs in many states. The difference in opinions in the party that others allege to be indiscipline, is in fact, the freedom to express different views,” the Congress vice-president said.
On following the Bihar formula of a grand alliance in other states, the party's leadership did not want to replicate the same model everywhere, because it’s ultimately the benefit of the Congress that matters.
“The Congress needs to benefit from the alliances it gets into. In West Bengal, the local Congress leaders have been trying to build an alliance either with the CPI(M) or with the TMC; but it all depends on how it benefits the Congress and works out at the local level. We don’t want it to be like the alliance in Jammu and Kashmir where the PDP and the BJP, who have opposite ideologies, are together for political interests. It’s the people who are at the receiving end and suffering,” the source quoted Rahul as saying.
Earlier, while speaking to PCC chiefs, Rahul is reported to have told them to go aggressively against the BJP governments in states and set up committees at state, district and block levels to monitor implementation of the UPA’s flagship progammes in the social sector.
“MNREGA that once was considered a scheme of UPA’s corrupt politics, has now turned into a national pride. Earlier, Modi had severely criticised this social scheme, but now Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has praised it, because at present it’s serving their (the BJP's) purpose,” a senior Congress leader said.