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Onset of dictatorship, says Rahul Gandhi amid Cong protests

NEW DELHI: Claiming that India is witnessing the death of democracy, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, “What India has built brick by brick, starting almost a century ago, is being destroyed in front of your eyes.”

Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters in New Delhi amid the ongoing protests by the Congress party in the national capital on issues of price rise and unemployment, he said, “Anybody who stands against this idea of onset of dictatorship is viciously attacked, jailed, arrested and beaten up.”

“Idea is, people’s issues, whether price rise, unemployment, violence in society must not be raised. That’s the sole agenda of the government. The government is being run to protect the interest of four to five people and this dictatorship is being run in the interest of two to three big business people by two people,” he said.

“Question all you want. There is absolutely nothing there, everybody knows it. My job is to resist the idea of the RSS and I am going to do it. The more I do it, the more I will be attacked, the harder I will be attacked. I am happy, attack me,” the Congress leader claimed.

Delhi Police officials have briefed security personnel at Vijay Chowk, ahead of the protests. Notably, Delhi Police has denied permission to Congress for holding protests. The police officials said that the prohibitory orders are in force in the national capital.

The Delhi Police has imposed Section 144 CrPC in the entire area of the New Delhi district except for Jantar Mantar. The police said that protest/dharna/ gherao in the area of New Delhi district on August 5 cannot be permitted in view of security, law and order and traffic reasons.

Claiming that Nirmala Sitharaman has no understanding of the economy, he said, “I think the macroeconomic fundamentals that she is talking about is something else. I don’t think the Finance Minister has any understanding of what is going on in the economy of India, zero understanding. She is there as a mouthpiece.”

Senior Congress leader Ajay Maken earlier this week said that they had received a letter from the DCP that they can’t protest on August 5 and the AICC (All India Congress) was turned into a Police cantonment. “The government may suppress us as much as they want but we’ll protest against inflation, unemployment, GST on edible items and go ahead with our schedule even if jailed,” he said.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge meanwhile sparred with Leader of the House Piyush Goyal on Thursday over ED summons issued to the Congress leaders. While Kharge accused the central government of trying to demoralise and intimidate the Opposition, Goyal responded by claiming that the government does not interfere in the functioning of law-enforcement agencies.

This comes two days after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) sealed the Young Indian Limited office located in the National Herald building on Wednesday.

Rahul Gandhi had earlier said the investigation into the National Herald case was an intimidation tactic by the BJP. The case pertains to the alleged financial irregularities in the Congress-promoted Young Indian Private Limited, which owns the National Herald newspaper.

“We are not afraid,” he said, adding, “Whatever they [BJP] do won’t make any difference. I will continue to do the work to protect our country, its democracy and brotherhood.” He added, “They think by putting a little pressure they can silence us. We won’t be silent. We will stand against what the BJP is doing. We will not be intimidated.”

This protest also comes amidst the ongoing Monsoon Session of the Parliament. Congress MP Manickam Tagore gives Adjournment Motion notice in Lok Sabha, to discuss the GST on several essential commodities.