New Delhi: The moment Congress president Sonia Gandhi appeared on the dais to address a large gathering comprising mostly party workers at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Friday, a wave of hope, cheer and enthusiasm traversed through the crowd.
High decibel sloganeering began as she launched a scathing attack on the BJP by saying, “Fighting anti-national forces is nothing new for the Congress. The party knows how to stand up to those, who threaten harmony and brotherhood in this country. BJP doesn’t know what Congress is made up of. Life has taught me to struggle, and we’ve faced a lot of challenges.”
The Congress party didn’t want to lose any opportunity to defend itself on the AgustaWestland case, especially since its demand for a Supreme Court monitored probe was rejected on Wednesday in the Parliament, and hence held a Save democracy march. They went on the counter-attack against the Narendra Modi government by highlighting the alleged failures of the NDA government in keeping its promises.
Using the platform of Save democracy march, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said, “Mohan Bhagwat of RSS and Prime Minister Modi are ruining the country. Where are the two crore jobs that the PM had promised to give?”
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the third arrow in the Congress quiver to attack the BJP.
The march conducted by the top Congress leadership from Jantar Mantar up to Parliament Street police station – where the leaders were detained and later let-off after completion of formalities – charged up the Youth Congress cadre and party workers at large, who started sloganeering on the streets, displaying party flags and banners.
For them it was a show of strength as they felt that the party leadership, which is already on a back-foot due to fierce attacks from the BJP on the AgustaWestland issue, has succeeded in giving a befitting reply and conveying its stand to public.
Across the party lines, the senior leaders and workers termed the consistent attack on their top leadership by the BJP as “political vendetta and high-handedness of the Modi government”.
During the rally, Firstpost spoke with a cross-section of Congress leaders and workers. Here’s what they said:
Has the BJP intentionally targetted the top Congress leadership?
Sandeep Dikshit (Former MP from East Delhi): India is a democratic country and the government is by the Constitution. The government has failed on several fronts and as a cover up it has intentionally targeted the top leadership of the Congress.
Rashid Alvi (Former MP and leader): It’s BJP’s government at the Centre and PM Narendra Modi is its head. So, it is conveniently using its majority in the Parliament in targetting our president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi. There is no proof against our leaders’ involvement in the AgustaWestland case.
Pranav Jha (Congress member): There’s so much anarchy across the country, and the Centre has failed to deal with it. Since Congress has raised these issues in the Parliament, so to divert the attention of the common public, ours leaders have been targeted.
Do you think it’s a political vendetta?
Sandeep Dikshit: The manner in which the Narendra Modi government has leveled charges against the Congress and are trying to frame its top leadership in AgustaWestland issue, it smells of political vendetta. There is no iota of evidence of involvement of our president and vice president in the entire episode.
Rashid Alvi: It’s a clear case of political vendetta, as the BJP has been trying to crush Congress by any means, which of course, they would never be able to do. Why was our demand for a Supreme Court monitored probe turned down?
Vidya Ratan Jindal (Congress worker and trader): The BJP is into vendetta politics, which is clear from the manner it has been targetting Sonia ji and Rahul ji. It’s time for the Modi government to have a check on itself.
Has the Congress rally succeeded in getting its message across to the common man?
Anil Dhantori (Ex-MLA, Murukshetra): At present, people have been feeling cheated by the NDA government. We need to save the country from fascist forces and Congress is the only alternative. Through this rally our party president and vice president have conveyed this message successfully.
Pranav Jha: The response of today’s rally is itself a proof. The people are with us.
What do you have to say on BJP’s dream of making a “Congress-Mukt Bharat”?
Anil Dhantori: PM Modi should stop acting as a dictator and stop his undemocratic ways of destabilising elected state governments.
Himmat Singh (Youth Congress general secretary, Ambala): It’s a wild dream of the BJP. They tried to dislodge the elected governments in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Now people want ‘RSS-BJP mukt Bharat’.
Do you think Congress party will make a comeback?
Sandeep Dikshit: Absolutely. It’ll come with a roaring majority in the Parliament in 2019 and also in the states. Bihar election has proved it. Congress has performed well in Gujarat civil polls as well. Just wait and watch.
Pranav Jha: People of this country are gradually getting disenchanted with the BJP government. The Congress will be back with full majority.
Prakash Nidhi Garg (UPCC secretary & in-charge, Mathura): We’re working hard in every election and definitely Congress will make a comeback.
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Updated Date: May 06, 2016 19:12:18 IST