New Delhi, Sep 4 : Hitting out at Narendra Modi government over the arrest of former Karnataka Minister DK Shivakumar, the Congress on Wednesday said that 'it will not be cowed down' and will continue to ask ' hard questions'. "Congress will not be cowed down, intimidated. As the premier political party of India, we will continue to ask hard questions, agitate and keep democracy alive in this country. We will not allow democracy to be stifled by intimidation being perpetrated by the BJP-NDA government", said party spokesperson Manish Tewari at a press conference at AICC headquarters.
Mr Shivakumar was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate, in the national capital, on Tuesday evening, in connection with a money laundering case, after he was questioned for a few days. Mr Tewari alleged that the arrest of Mr Shivakumar was the latest in the series of continuing political vendetta. "Mr Shivakumar’s only crime was that he provided protection to those Congress MLAs in Gujarat who were being poached by the BJP-NDA during Rajya Sabha elections last year", he said.
"If you have evidence, you don’t need custodial interrogation. Hence, what you have been witnessing the past five years is not unbiased, neutral prosecution but subjective and whimsical persecution carried out by investigative agencies at the behest of their political masters", the Congress spokesperson alleged. Mr Tewari charged that the government is "continuing persecution of opposition leaders, especially Congress leaders, who have the conviction and courage to ask hard questions to this Government, to cover up their failure and complete breakdown of governance".
"The situation in Assam is going north, more than 19 lakh people have been rendered stateless after the publication of the last NRC draft. Does the Government of India have an endgame in mind, for those, who, as per NRC process cease to be citizens of India", he asked. Referring Jammu and Kashmir, the Congress leader said, for the last one month, there has been a complete shutdown in Kashmir, an undeclared emergency where civil rights have ceased to exist. "Over a period of 33 months, new jobs account for only 10 percent of loans given under the Mudra scheme. The scheme in other words is a monumental failure", he alleged.
Describing the state of economy, Mr Tewari said, core Indian Industries, manufacturing sector, is growing at 2.1 per cent only because there is no demand. "People in rural India don't even have a surplus of Rs 5 to buy a pack of parleG. There's no disposable income available with people", he said. Today economic growth is at 5 percent but it is not only the 5 per cent which is a cause of concern. Today the fundamentals of Indian economy are being subverted, he said.
"The Prime Minister says the fundamentals of the Indian economy are strong, the Home Minister reiterates the statement. But has someone ever really questioned what does it mean when you refer to the fundamentals of the Indian economy", the Congress leader asked.UNI