Rahul Gandhi, Amit Shah trade barbs on trampling of institutions: Updates

Congress President Rahul Gandhi addressing at the national launch of 'Save the Constitution' campaign at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi on Monday. Photo: Dalip Kumar
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday accused the Modi government of 'trampling' on institutions like Supreme Court to return to power, drawing a sharp retort from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah who charged the opposition party of "demonising and weakening each institution. Mounting a fresh offensive, Rahul Gandhi also accused the ruling party of not allowing Parliament to run and said the "only one interest" Narendra Modi has is in himself and in becoming prime minister again, without being perturbed by deaths of Dalits, atrocities against minorities and rape of women.

Launching the Congress' nationwide 'Save the Constitution' campaign in Delhi, Gandhi accused the government of packing institutions with RSS men, including in offices of chief ministers and courts. Supreme Court is being trampled upon, the Parliament has been shut," Rahul Gandhi said, according to news agency PTI.

Soon after his speech, the BJP chief returned fire and said the opposition party's campaign was a farce and actually a "saving dynasty" drive. He also alleged that Congress was out to "demonise and weaken every institution" that seeks to maintain its identity and does not "kowtow to the dynasty".

He asserted the one thing from which these institutions needed to be saved was the Congress.

Rahul Gandhi said the foundation of India's institutions has been its Constitution, written and given to the country by the Congress and B R Ambedkar — a statement termed by the BJP as an "insult" to the Dalit icon for mentioning his name after the party's.Amit Shah alleged Gandhi was "continuing his family legacy" in humiliating Ambedkar.

Continuing his tirade against Narendra Modi, Gandhi scion said that the people with RSS ideology are being placed in the institutions. "After National Democratic Alliance (NDA)-led BJP government has come to power, every institution is being filled with the RSS people with one ideology - ideology that runs counter" to the Constitution, Rahul Gandhi said, added PTI.

"The result is that the institution that protects the weaker people in India, the instruments that protect the weaker people in India, whether it is SC/ST Atrocities Act, are being eroded and weakened," Rahul Gandhi said. "No matter how much effort the BJP puts in, we will not allow them to destroy our institutions; We will not allow them to touch the Constitution."

Countering him, Amit Shah said "everyone knows" the reasons for which the judiciary has "invited the wrath" of Congress and the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. "Our institutions which are an outcome of our Constitution today need to be saved from the onslaught of the Congress Party. The Congress Party has spared no institution and is attacking the EC, Supreme Court, Army for petty political gains," Shah said in a statement.

Continuing his tirade against Prime Minister Modi, he said, "Earlier this government said Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao but now Modiji will say is 'Beti Bachao, BJP ke logon se bachao'."

The Congress President also said that Narendra Modi is only interested in becoming the Prime Minister.

Rahul Gandhi launched 'Save the Constitution' national campaign against Modi government for "systematically destroying the Indian Constitution and attacking the Dalits".

Dalits form roughly 17 per cent of the country's electorate. There are 84 parliamentary seats reserved for candidates belonging to the scheduled castes. The BJP had bagged nearly half of the seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, reflecting on its success in politically key states such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Rahul Gandhi noted that the Congress could win three-fourth of the seats.

Here are the top 10 developments on Rahul Gandhi’s tirade against Narendra Modi:

1. Modi govt suppressing 
media persons, says Rahul GandhiCongress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday alleged that media persons were being "suppressed" under BJP's watch and assured his party would defend them even if the media attacked the Grand Old party like it did for 70 years.

"Our friends from the press are here. They are being suppressed (in the present regime). But they will speak up in two-three months, the entire country will speak up," Gandhi said while launching the Congress's Save the Constitution' campaign.

Rahul Gandhi said that there was a difference between the Congress and the BJP governments when it came to protecting members of the media. He said Congress governments have protected the media even when it attacked and wrote against them.

ALSO READ: NDA goverment crushing SC, Modi only interested in becoming PM again: Rahul 

2. Save the Constitution is Congress’ campaign to save dynasty, says Amit Shah: Hitting back at Rahul Gandhi, BJP president Amit Shah on Monday said the 'Save the Constitution' campaign launched by the Congress chief is an exercise to save the dynasty and that the opposition party's "Modi hatred" has turned into "India hatred".

If there is one party that has destroyed the spirit of our Constitution, it is the Congress. They do not want rule of democracy but they want rule of dynasty. Hence this is a farce of a movement by their President. https://t.co/n6mWPBHIRC

— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) April 23, 2018

By repeatedly saying the Congress made the Constitution, @RahulGandhi is carrying forward his family tradition of insulting Dr. Ambedkar. The Nehru-Gandhi family insulted him when he was alive and his humiliating him even more now. Shameful and petty.

— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) April 23, 2018

In a statement soon after Gandhi launched a scathing attack on Narendra Modi, Amit Shah said if there is one political party that has trampled over the Constitution in letter and spirit, time and again, it is the opposition party.

He made a mention of the Congress' move to impeach the Chief Justice of India and said it is part of a trend to demonise and weaken every institution that seeks to maintain its individual identity and does not "kowtow to the dynasty", a reference to the Gandhi family.

ALSO READ: It is Congress which has destroyed Constitution: Amit Shah

The BJP chief also cited the Congress' alleged attack on the CAG, Election Commission, the Army and the Supreme Court at different points of time and its imposition of the Emergency in 1975 to hit back

"Those who do not trust the Army, the judiciary, the Supreme Court, the Election Commission, EVMs and the RBI, are now saying democracy is in danger. India has a vibrant democracy and a vibrant Constitution,” Shah said, according to PTI. 

"The Congress' Save the Constitution' campaign is nothing but a farce that seeks to perpetuate the rule of dynasty over the rule of democracy. Like in the past, we need to protect the Constitution from the Congress," Shah said, added PTI. 

3. Rahul Gandhi launches 'Save the Constitution' campaign: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday launched his party's nationwide 'Save the Constitution' campaign, aiming to highlight alleged attacks on the Constitution and Dalits under Narendra Modi-led government.

This country belongs to each and every one of us. It is the duty of the Congress party to protect the Constitution, the institutions and every single one of our citizens.#SaveTheConstitution https://t.co/40wPM0vqs2

— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 23, 2018

Seen as the party's effort to reach out to the community ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the campaign will continue till April 14, 2019, the birth anniversary of Dalit icon Bhim Rao Ambedkar.

"The Constitution is under threat in the BJP regime. The community is being denied opportunities in spheres of education and jobs. The programme aims to highlight these issues nationwide," a party leader said, according to news agency PTI. 

Congress President Rahul Gandhi pays tribute to Dr B R Ambedkar at the launch of the party's nationwide "Save the Constitution" campaign at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi on Monday

4. Rahul says Modi only interested in becoming PM again: Congress president Rahul Gandhi launched a blistering attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the country could burn, girls may be raped and the rights of scheduled castes and minorities be under a threat, but Modi was merely interested in becoming the Prime Minister again.

ALSO READ: Rahul Gandhi questions Modi on 'spirituality in cleaning toilets'

The twin burning issues of Dalit rights and women's safety were at the centre of Gandhi's all-out attack on Modi at the launch of the Congress's "Save the Constitution" programme, as he asserted that constitutional values had been endangered under the Modi government and assured the people that his party would not let it happen.

“Modiji yesterday told his MPs, you give ‘masala’ to the media, so please don't speak... No one else will speak anywhere. Nation will only listen to Narendra Modi”, says Rahul Gandhi pic.twitter.com/IrFRsDRVA6#SaveTheConstitution

— Rahul Gandhi (@office0ffRG_) April 23, 2018

5. Rahul challenges Modi for a 15-minute debate: Rahul Gandhi claimed that if he was allowed to speak with Narendra Modi for 15 minutes on a host of issues, including the Nirav Modi scam, Modi would "run away". Gandhi alleged that Modi was afraid to face Parliament on issues like Punjab National Bank fraud scam, deportation of Lalit Modi and Vijay Mallaya and the Rafale fighter deal.

"If I am allowed to speak for 15 minutes on Rafale issue in Parliament before Modi, he will not be able to withstand it," he said.

While challenging Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi said: "Just give me 15 minutes for a debate with the PM and I will grill him on Rafael deal, Nirav Modi." 

ALSO READ: Congress doesn't believe in any constitutional institution: BJP

6. ‘Modi govt has no place for Dalits’: Rahul Gandhi quoted Prime Minister Modi's statement from his book Karmyog and said: "In his book 'Karmayog', the Prime Minister has justified manual scavenging by calling it a 'spiritual experience' for the Valmiki community. This speaks volumes about his anti-Dalit mindset. He thinks that a person from backward class who cleans toilets and gutters gets spiritual happiness. It's their (BJP) thinking, not Congress,” reported ANI.

In his book 'Karmayog', PM Modi justifies manual scavenging by calling it a 'spiritual experience' for the Valmiki community. This speaks volumes about his anti-Dalit mindset: Rahul Gandhi, Congress President in #Delhi pic.twitter.com/yvmNvRY4x5

— ANI (@ANI) April 23, 2018

He claimed that Narendra Modi-led government has no place for Dalit and backward class people in their hearts.

"The atrocities against backward class are increasing, and the person who sees manual scavengers getting spiritual happiness does not speak a word after all these incidents," the Congress president said, added ANI.

7. ‘Modi govt crushing, suppressing SC’: Rahul Gandhi on Monday accused the Modi government of "crushing" and "suppressing" the Supreme Court and asserted that his party will not allow the ruling alliance to derail institutions created by the Constitution.

Gandhi said that institutions such as the Supreme Court, high courts, the Lok Sabha, assemblies and the Election Commission have been built on the basis of the Constitution which has been given to the country by Dr B R Ambedkar and the Congress.

He alleged that people with RSS background were being inducted in these institutions by the BJP-led government.

"It has happened for the first time that four judges of the Supreme Court went to the people to seek justice. The Supreme court is being crushed, it is being suppressed. Parliament was not allowed to run," Gandhi said.

ALSO READ: Congress responsible if Dalits face atrocities even 70 yrs after independence, says Ram Vilas Paswan

8. 'Beti Bachao, BJP ke logon se bachao': Continuing his tirade against Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi said, "Earlier this government said Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao but now Modiji will say is 'Beti Bachao, BJP ke logon se bachao'.”  This was in reference to the alleged involvement of a BJP MLA in a rape case in Unnao.

Gandhi said International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde had told Modi recently that atrocities were being committed against women in India.

"She told him that your government was not doing the right thing for Indian women, was not helping them and atrocities were being committed against them. But the Prime Minister is quiet. Other countries used to look up to us... Modiji has destroyed the country's reputation,” Gandhi said, according to ANI. 

9. Rahul Gandhi says BJP spreading RSS ideology: Rahul Gandhi alleged that RSS ideology ran counter to the Indian Constitution.

"This ideology that runs counter to this document... The SC and ST Atrocities Act is being eroded and weakened," he said.

"Congress and B R Ambedkar wrote and gave the Constitution to India. All the institutions, IIT, IIM, and AIIMS all have been given to us by the Constitution, without it, nothing would have been possible. But today, people of RSS ideology are being placed in these institutions," he said, according to news agency ANI. 

Referring to the second half of the budget session of Parliament, Gandhi said it was for the first time that the treasury benches "disrupted" the Houses though it was normally the Opposition which does so.

"They (BJP) will see the power and strength of ideology of the Congress. They are already beginning to see it. They will see more and more till 2019 when we will remove them from power," Gandhi added.

10. BJP holding ‘Gram Swaraj Abhiyan’ across India: The Congress campaign comes at a time when the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is holding "Gram Swaraj Abhiyan" across the country under which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked party MPs and MLAs to spend a night in Dalit-dominated villages.

The Prime Minister's direction to party leaders came after violent protests erupted in parts of the country after a Supreme Court order allegedly diluted the Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

With Agency inputs