Modi govt undermining federalism by weakening political autonomy of states: Mallikarjun Kharge

AICC chief Mallikarjun Kharge addresses Congress workers during the Mahajana Sabha organised by the KPCC in Thrissur. Photo: Vishnu V Nair/Manorama

Thrissur: All-India Congress Committee president Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday accused the BJP-led Union government of undermining the principles of federalism by attempting to weaken the political autonomy of states and intervening in their governance.

The Congress president was addressing a mass rally 'Mahajana Sabha', organised by the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) in Thrissur on Sunday, virtually kick-starting the party's Lok Sabha election campaign in the state.

"The Modi government is not only harassing the state governments but is also crushing the poor people and women of the country. The Centre’s intervention in state governance and autonomous bodies, including interference by governors and attempts to reduce the political autonomy of states, undermines the principles of federalism,” said Kharge.

Kharge began his address by laying down the good deeds done by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. He said the public sector institutes started by the Nehru government employed millions. “Nehru envisioned an economy in which the private and public sectors worked together. Backwards and Dalit communities have been able to come forward through employment. However, today, the Modi government is pampering the private sector.”

“Other sectors have been left to die a natural death. The government has the responsibility to bring back the public sector if it becomes weak. But Modi is busy destroying the public sector and strengthening the private sector. A few private capitalists are being pampered. Inflation is increasing day by day,” he said, adding that the Modi government's policies have affected minorities and women most.

Kharge said atrocities against women and marginalised groups have risen many folds under the Modi government. “For example, the country records 51 cases of crimes against women every hour in the country. However the Centre protects those accused of crimes against women, SC/ST and other weaker sections,” he said referring to the protests by the women grapplers against former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president and Kaiserganj BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who was accused of sexual harassment.

Manipur not Modi’s concern’
“The incidents of rapes and violence in Manipur have left the country ashamed. Even after nine months of ongoing violence in Manipur, the BJP government has been an utter failure in defusing the situation and reestablishing an atmosphere of peace and stability in the northeastern state. The PM has time to tour the entire country, address election rallies and give speeches every other day. He has all the time in the world for politics, but no time for Manipur. He even has time for vacation in Lakshadweep and to get pictures clicked, but he does not have time for the people, women and children of Manipur. It is clear that Manipur is not Modi's concern,” he quipped.

“At a time when the BJP workers visit homes requesting votes, one must remember that all democratic institutions are being systematically weakened. Agencies like ED, CBI and Income tax are made weapons to target opposition leaders on false and baseless charges. People are being appointed to various high-profile posts, not based on merit, but based on their closeness with RSS and BJP. Whether it is University Chancellors, professors, directors in public sectors or any important post, they appoint only people with the background of RSS or BJP. We must identify these threats to protect the values of democracy, justice and inclusivity,” reminded Kharge.

If we win Kerala, we will win India’
In an hour-long speech, Kharge opined infrastructure development, healthcare, social welfare, education and safety of women have been areas that saw constant progress in Kerala whenever the Congress was in power in the state. Remembering the good deeds done by former chief ministers K Karunakaran, A K Antony and Oommen Chandy, Kharge pledged that Congress will do its best to protect the democracy and Constitution, and the rights and interests of all the states.

He concluded the address by saying: “The people of Kerala have always stood for principles, the rights of the poor, democracy and the Constitution. Therefore we have high hopes that if we win Kerala, we will win India.”

Representatives from 25,177 booths across the state, reportedly, attended the meeting. The KPCC organised the Mahajana Sabha to strengthen the party from the booth level. The meeting was presided over by KPCC president K Sudhakaran and attended by AICC general secretary K C Venugopal, Leader of the Opposition V D Satheesan, AICC general secretary in-charge of Kerala Deepa Dasmunshi and other senior leaders.

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