Mounting a frontal attack on the Narendra Modi government, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday said there has been an increase in communal violence in the country since it came to power and alleged this was part of a “deliberate” attempt to divide the people.
Speaking at a party forum outside Delhi for the first time after the Lok Sabha polls, Gandhi said recurrence of communal violence in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and other parts of the country was a “matter of grave concern”, remarks which came days after Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had alleged that communal conflicts in UP have been “deliberately engineered”.
“There has been an increase in communal violence in the country since 11 weeks of the BJP-led government coming to power at the Centre. These were deliberately created to divide the people,” she said addressing a special convention organised by the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee.
“More than 600 incidents of communal violence happened in Uttar Pradesh and, perhaps, as many in Maharashtra,” she said, adding that “during the United Progressive Alliance I and II rule hardly any such incident had happened”.
Gandhi also criticised the Narendra Modi government for its alleged “failure” to sufficiently express solidarity with the Palestinian people over Israel’s assault on Gaza.
Alluding to the reluctance of the government to adopt a resolution on the issue in the Lok Sabha, she said, “This has muted the country’s response to the suffering people and betrayed its long tradition of solidarity with the people in Palestine and the vision of two states existing side-by-side in peace and harmony.”
Lauding the Kerala unit of the Congress for observing the “quit violence week” for social harmony and peace from August 9, Gandhi urged the party functionaries and workers to organise more such “positive campaigns” to strengthen secularism for which “the party has always stood”.
Gandhi also lavished praises on the KPCC for embarking on a democratic revamp of the organisation starting with booth level elections earlier this week.
Urging the Congress workers to strongly stick to their ideological moorings of secularism and peace to strengthen the party to meet the challenges ahead, Gandhi said the 125th birth anniversary of the country’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru this year provided an opportunity to organise campaigns on this theme.
She recalled that Nehru’s was a life totally dedicated for leading the country to freedom and laying the foundation for a strong nation through hard work and vision.
Last week, Rahul Gandhi had stormed the well in the Lok Sabha raking up the issue of “rising” communal violence. BJP had hit back at Rahul Gandhi, saying it was Congress, which was doing communal politics and the statement itself reflected such thinking.
Hitting back at Sonia Gandhi over her remarks on spike in communal violence after Bharatiya Janata Party came to power, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday asked the party to “introspect” before making such “baseless allegations”.
“Congress and communalism go hand and hand. It is the Congress party’s divisive politics and communal agenda which has brought the country to this state,” the senior BJP leader said. “That is why Congress has suffered a major setback in the recent elections and they should introspect. Stop such baseless allegations,” he said outside Parliament.