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‘Democracy strangulated’, Sonia slams Centre, targets PM Modi & Shah for distorting history to defame Nehru

New Delhi, Dec 20 : Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday slammed the BJP-led government at the Centre over the suspension of 141 MPs from Parliament, saying that democracy has been strangulated, and also criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for distorting history.

She slammed Prime Minister Modi and the government for distorting history and twisting historical facts just to defame great patriots like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, and also said that this will not intimidate or cow them down.

Addressing the party MPs at the General Body meeting of the Congress Parliament Party (CPP), Sonia Gandhi said, “Democracy has been strangulated by this government.”

She said that never before have so many opposition members of Parliament been suspended from the House, and that too, simply for raising a perfectly reasonable and legitimate demand.

“All that the opposition Members of Parliament asked for was a statement to be made by the Home Minister in the Lok Sabha addressing the extraordinary events of December 13. There are no words to describe the arrogance with which this request was treated,” the Congress leader said.

Referring to the security breach in the Lok Sabha on December 13, she said, “What happened on December 13 is inexcusable and cannot be justified. It took four days for the Prime Minister to address the nation and express his views on the incident, and he did so outside of the Parliament.

“By doing so, he clearly indicated his disdain for the dignity of the House and his disregard for the people of our country. I leave it to you to imagine how the BJP would have responded had they been in opposition today,” she said.

Sonia Gandhi also said that this session has seen the passage of some important Bills relating to Jammu and Kashmir.

“Those who distort history and twist historical facts just to defame great patriots like (Pandit) Jawaharlal Nehru have been running a relentless campaign. In these efforts, the Prime Minister and the Home Minister have taken the lead themselves, but we will not be intimidated or cowed down. We will persist in telling the truth.

The Congress leader said, “Our position on Jammu and Kashmir has been clear and consistent. Full statehood must be restored immediately, and elections must be held at the earliest. The aspirations of the people of Ladakh are equally important, they must be addressed and shown the respect they deserve.”

She also said that we believe that the passing of the Women’s Reservation Bill with a rider – that it shall only be implemented after delimitation or a census, is an eyewash intended to mislead women and garner their votes while reneging on that which is rightfully owed to them.

“Women’s representation in Parliament is long overdue. There is no time to waste. It is our firm belief that reservation for women must be implemented immediately and it should cover women belonging to all communities, including the OBC community,” she said.

She also congratulated party colleagues in Telangana for working towards the Assembly elections with dedication and determination.

“The people of Telangana have given us a clear mandate. We must strive our utmost to fulfill their trust and confidence,” Sonia Gandhi said.

She also said that she was happy that the Winter Session saw the passage of the Bill to establish a Central Tribal University in Telangana. “This was a commitment enshrined in the Andhra Pradesh Re-organisation Act, 2014. It has taken a government that prides itself for its efficiency, nine long years to fulfill that promise, she said slamming the BJP government at the Centre.

To say that the Assembly election results in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have been very disappointing for our party is an understatement, she said, adding that the Congress President has already had a first round of reviews to understand the reasons for our poor performance and draw the needed lessons for our organisation.

“We are facing enormous challenges, yet I am confident that our fortitude and resilience will see us through. Our ideology and our values are our guiding light at this difficult time. We must never forget that our leaders fought against insurmountable odds, with great courage and fortitude, to give us our freedom,” the Congress leader said.

She also said that the 2024 Lok Sabha elections will be held in the next few months. We have our task cut out both as a party in our own right and also as a member of the INDIA group.

“The Congress President has already launched our poll preparations. The rally being organised in Nagpur on our Foundation Day is a significant step in this direction. The issues at stake are fundamental. This government has conducted a systematic assault on democracy and the institutions that are its essential pillars, including Parliament,” Sonia Gandhi said.

She further said that “diversity has been the strength that has distinguished India among the nations of the world”.

“We have always been proud of the manner in which diverse religions, castes and ethnicities have co-existed and participated in building our beautiful nation. However, the actions of this government and the BJP have methodically weakened the very spirit of this unity,” she said, adding that the Constitution is under attack, economic inequalities are widening, there is a significant gap between the Prime Minister’s boasts about economic growth and the ground reality.

She also raised the issue of unemployment and inflation and said that it is imperative that we take these issues to the public.

“It is equally our duty to fight with all our might against the forces that are damaging the social fabric that has sustained our nation throughout,” she said.

She also thanked Congress Chief Mallikarjun Kharge for the leadership he has demonstrated over the past year. “I am also grateful to all our colleagues and workers for campaigning tirelessly for the recent Assembly elections. We must channel our disappointment into a positive drive for the coming general elections, she said.

She also said that the innovative campaign of the ‘donate for desh’ that has been launched to strengthen the party’s finances, its importance cannot be minimized.

“I am confident that each and every one of you will do your part to ensure that it remains a sustained and successful effort,” she added.

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