NEW DELHI, Jan 29: Accusing the Prime Minister Narendra Modi of running the BJP government at the centre with “terror mechanism,” the Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday told the people to use utmost caution in exercising their voting rights in the coming Lok Sabha elections to ensure continuity of democracy in the country.
Cautioning that the 2014 Parliamentary elections could well be the last elections in the country if the Modi government was voted back to power, Mr Kharge said it was left to the voters to decide if they want the democratic structure to survive.
Addressing a Congress workers convention in Bhubaneswar on Monday, Mr Kharge said the forthcoming general elections was going to be the last election in India if Prime Minister Narendra Modi was re-elected. “Whether you acknowledge it or not, one of our leaders from INDIA departed yesterday. He was taken away from us. The current government’s modus operandi involves serving notices to leaders one after another, instilling terror, and issuing threats. Individuals are abandoning friendships, alliances, and parties out of fear. The question arises: Can the country, democracy, or constitution survive if so many cowards persist?” he asked.
“This is the last opportunity before people to cast their votes decisively. Following this, no further voting will be possible as there will be no more elections. Elections will be held akin to election of Russian President Vlaldimir Putin. They will run the government on basis of accumulated authority and keep returning to power. They will get 200 seats, 300 and 400. They will even increase number of seats beyond 600,” said Congress chief.
“It is people’s responsibility to safeguard Constitution and democracy and ensure that elections are held recurrently. The survival of democracy is in the hands of the people. If you desire it, the democracy will stay on. However, if you choose to remain subservient, that is a decision is up to you,” he told Congress workers.
“Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi had sacrificed their lives for people while Mr Modi is taking lives. If a political leader does not listen to him (Mr Modi), he unleashes CBI, Income Tax and ED on him. He is running government by this terror mechanism,” the veteran leader said.
Mr Kharge remarked, “We administered the government with love, embracing each other. Progress in education, health, industry, and the establishment of various visible institutions today can be credited to the contributions of the Congress. The present government seems to derive pleasure from causing discord and conflict among the people.”
He did not feel the Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s U-turn going back to the NDAS fold on Sunday would weaken the INDIA alliance. “Some individuals commented that the alliance suffered a setback with the departure of one person. Does the country weaken when one person exits? No. Likewise, the alliance would not weaken by the departure of one or two individuals. We will emerge even stronger.”
The Congress president also came down heavily on Odisha’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government saying, “Former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik was close to former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. He was following ideology of Nehruji. He was Patnaik of the past. But, today’s Patnaik (Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Biju Patnaik’s son) is adhering to ideology of BJP.” He alleged BJP and BJD had long been in undeclared alliance aimed at looting money by selling mineral resources.
As the Rahul Gandhi-led Congress party’s “Bharat Jodo Nyaya Yatra” scheduled to re-enter West Bengal from Bihar on Wednesday, the CPM has extended its hands of support to the march since its arch rival Trinamool Congress has distanced itself from the Yatra. The CPM has jumped in to fill the breach, promising greater participation with heavyweight leaders in Malda and Murdhidabad during the second phase of the Yatra’s route through West Bengal.
Rahul’s Yatra from Bihar is scheduled to enter Malda district on Wednesday and traverse Murshidabad district on Thursday. The Congress has only two MPs in Bengal (from Malda Dakshin and Berhampur seats, both in the two districts), though neither the Congress nor the Left Front has any MLAs in the state.
“We have received an invitation. We will attend the rally in Malda and Murshidabad. While leaders like Sujan Chakraborty will be present in Malda, I will be present in Murshidabad,” said Md Selim, CPI(M) state secretary, to the media.
According to the CPM sources, the party leaders especially youth leaders, will be present at the Yatra in a show of solidarity with the Congress. On Sunday, when the Yatra moved through Siliguri in West Bengal, the CPI(M) state secretariat member Jibesh Sarkar was seen with party workers joining the rally. “We had always supported the Yatra. We had also made it clear that we can’t be there if the TMC is around. Now that the TMC has not only distanced itself from the Yatra, but is indirectly trying to disturb its progress — we saw some people displaying posters against the Congress in Coochbehar — our leaders and workers will be there in Malda and Murshidabad in a show of unity,” said a senior CPI(M) leader.
The two parties have had an on-and-off electoral alliance in the past, which includes the 2016 and 2021 Assembly polls. However, early into INDIA bloc talks, the CPI(M) had made it clear that it would not go with the TMC in Bengal.