UDAIPUR: Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Friday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's silence on the ongoing violence and other problems in the country as she inaugurated her party's three-day 'Chintan Shivir'.
She said that the Chintan Shivir will give an opportunity to discuss the numerous challenges that the country is facing as a result of the policies of the BJP and of the RSS and its affiliates.
"So it is both a chintan about national issues and a meaningful atma-chintan about our party organisation," she said in her inaugural speech.
Targeting the Prime Minister, she said that the BJP's "maximum governance, minimum government" means "more empty slogans, diversionary tactics and utter silence on the part of an ever-so eloquent Prime Minister when the healing touch is most needed".
"By now it has become abundantly and most painfully clear what Prime Minister Modi and his colleagues really mean by their frequently repeated slogan: maximum governance, minimum government. It means keeping the country in a state of permanent polarisation, compelling our people to live in a constant state of fear and insecurity.
"It means viciously targeting, victimising and often brutalising minorities who are an integral part of our society and are equal citizens of our republic.It means using our society's age-old pluralities to divide us and subverting the carefully nurtured idea of unity in diversity," she said.
Gandhi also accused the Modi regime of "threatening and intimidating political opponents, maligning their reputations, jailing them on flimsy pretexts, misusing investigative agencies against the and eroding the independence and professionalism of all institutions of democracy".
She also hit out at its bid for "the wholesale reinvention of history, the constant denigration of our leaders, especially Jawaharlal Nehru, and systematic moves to distort, deny and destroy their contributions, achievements and sacrifices nd glorifying the killers of Mahatma Gandhi and their ideologues".
She alleged that the government is "blatant in undermining of the principles and provisions of our nation's Constitution, of its pillars of justice, liberty, equality, fraternity and secularism".
"They are turning a blind eye to continued atrocities across the country on weaker sections, especially Dalits, adivasis and women and using fear to make the bureaucracy, to make corporate India, to make civil society and sections of the media fall in line.
"It is not just the undermining of our long-cherished values embodied in the Constitution that are now at grave risk. The fires of hatred and discord that are being ignited have taken a heavy toll on peoples' lives. This is having serious social consequences," she said.
The Congress chief underlined that while the vast majority of Indians want to live in an atmosphere of peace, amity, and harmony, the "BJP, its cohorts and surrogates want to keep our people in a state of perpetual frenzy and conflict. They constantly provoke, instigate and inflame".
"We have to combat this growing virus of divisiveness that is being maliciously and mischievously spread. This we must do at all costs. We must sustain high economic growth to provide adequate employment opportunities for our youth, generate revenues needed for welfare programmes, and improve the standard of living of our people. But the worsening environment of social illiberalism and bigotry shakes the very foundations of economic growth."