Prime Minister Narendra Modi today came under strident attack from Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, who accused him of being “dictatorial” and using the smokescreen of development to mask communal agenda.
Castigating the ruling dispesnation over a number of incidents like Dadri lynching and burning of Dalit children in Haryana amid the raging debate on intolerance, Sonia, Rahul and other top leaders tried to put the Modi dispensation on the mat.
Training her guns on the Prime Minister, the Congress president said,”Simply because someone holds a different view or disagrees they cannot be branded a traitor. This is neither the way of our democracy nor a form of patriotism. It is a form of dictatorship.”
“Today, we are witnessing attempts by certain individuals and elements to whitewash their communal agenda in front of the world by hiding it behind the mask of development.”
“Development is used as a buzzword, again and again. It is ironic that they speak of development yet fail to learn from the legacy and lessons of the man synonymous with laying the foundation of India’s growth-Nehruji,” she said.
Attacking the Prime Minister, Rahul Gandhi said when he is abroad, he says India is tolerant and government wants to take all sections together but he says nothing of this sort when he is in India.
“Prime Minister is silent when Dalit children are killed in Haryana or when someone is killed in the name of religion in Dadri,” he said.
Accusing Modi, BJP and RSS of practising unilateralism, Rahul said the Prime Minister does not take interest in Parliament and though the Opposition raises issues neither he nor his government bother to respond, which is in stark contrast to the respect shown by Nehru to his opponents.
Alleging that people were being viciously attacked for holding different beliefs in the “prevalent atmosphere of intolerance”, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accused Modi of promoting himself by harping on the issue of development.
An unusally aggressive former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, “Hamare Pradhan Mantri Vikas Ki baat karte hain. Jahan Jaate hain vikas ke naam par apni dukandaari chamkaane ki baat karte hain (Our Prime Minister talks of development. Wherever he goes, he tries to promote himself in the name of development).” He was was greeted with loud cheers.
The attack on Modi came at the concluding ceremony of the 125th birth anniversary of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, which also saw repeated reference by party leaders to the poll victory of the grand alliance in Bihar.