New Delhi: A combative Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday attacked the Narendra Modi government, accusing it of engaging in a dangerous duplicitous game by allowing his colleagues to create an atmosphere of fear and foreboding by fomenting communal polarisation.
She also charged the government with making systematic attempts to dismantle edifice of the welfare state and asked partymen to strongly oppose its moves on the land bill and food security law.
One one hand, the Prime Minister wants to project himself as the great champion of good governance and Constitutional values while on the other he allows many of his colleagues to make vile statements and foment communal polarisation.
"This has already damaged our secular fabric. An atmosphere of fear and foreboding has been deliberately created", she said in her inaugural address to a day-long conference of Congress chief ministers, the first after the party's worst debacle in Lok Sabha polls last year.
"There is another aspect of both substance and style that I should mention and this relates to a dangerous duplicitous game that is being played out. In terms of substance, there are systematic attempts being made to dismantle the edifice of the welfare state built up over the decades by successive Congress governments", she said.
Sonia attacked Modi over unprecedented entralisation of power and said both the substance and style of government were a cause of great concern. "Unprecedented centralisation of power and authority, the deliberate by-passing of Parliamentary procedures and practices, threats to civil society and warnings to the judiciary marked the Modi rule", she said targeting the Prime Minister.
"The new government took over at the Centre a little over a year ago. Both its substance and style are now all too evident. Both are cause of great concern. They raise many disturbing questions. They should make us pause, reflect and give an appropriate response", she told the conclave.
Gandhi told the gathering about the Prime Minister's turnabouts like on the 2013 land acquisition law and on the National Food Security Act, saying he has to be strongly opposed.
She said "it is alarming that the coverage under the National Food Security Act is proposed to be reduced from 67% to 40% and the entire system of food procurement including MSP is under assault".
Gandhi expressed concern over budgetary allocations being slashed in key areas like education, health, drinking water and sanitation, rural roads and livelihood, women and child development and welfare of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
"This is clearly part of a new philosophy which abdicates the essential role of the Central government in social and human development and in strengthening local self-government institutions in rural and urban India", she said.
The Congress president asked party chief ministers to work with the Centre for serving the interest of their states, but also told them to engage in agitations when it works against public interest.
She also put the onus on the Centre for creating and maintaining an atmosphere conducive for cooperation and consenus. As Chief Ministers you must work with the Centre in the best interests of your state even as you express your views frankly.
"But at the same time we as Congressmen and women have to confront the Modi government and engage in agitations against it when it works against public interest", she said.