Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday attacked the government in Lok Sabha for “partition of India’s soul” in 2020 and slammed its “failures” on various fronts, saying it should name its schemes “sit-down” “shutdown” and “shut-up India”.
Alleging a fundamental assault on democratic and secular structure of the country, he claimed that the government was dividing the country into “Hindus Vs Muslims”, “us Vs they”, “Ramzade Vs I won’t say”.
The present dispensation was abrogating its moral responsibility of dealing with the “constitutional and political crisis” facing the country, Tharoor said while participating in the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address.
Wondering who actually was the ‘tukde tukde gang’, the Thiruvananthapuram MP said in 1947 India witnessed partition of its soil and in 2020, the government is giving “partition of India’s soul”.
Taking a swipe, he said government schemes should really be named as “sit-down India, shutdown India and shut-up India”
“Lip service” was paid to Skill India, Digital India and Startup India and no mention was made of Standup India as “you are so busy banning stand-up comedians”, he said referring to the airline ban on stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra.
It was up to the people to decide whether the “new India” should be for all or for some. He also said that that the people will have to decide that the new India should stand for unity or be divided by hatred.
He alleged that the government has criticised institutions such as the CAG and has turned Parliament into a “notice board” for the ruling BJP.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad objected to his remark, saying while he is free to criticise the government, Tharoor should refrain from targeting institutions. He urged the Chair to look into the remarks.
Dubbing the government as “men of straws with limited vision”, he said even if it “hijacks” names from the history, it won’t succeed.
Tharoor said facts gave way to fiction in the President’s address to Parliament.
The Congress member said there was a dearth of solutions and ideas to take India forward and attempts were made to “mask” failures of various schemes launched by the government.
He said Mahatma Gandhi was quoted to defend “draconian” law such as the Citizenship Amendment Act. He said Gandhi had also said during Partition that India should not drive out Muslims as it was against ethos. But that part was left out in the President’s address.
He also flagged the issue of “prolonged” detention of leaders from Jammu and Kashmir and said the country has seen the largest number of internet shutdowns, including that in the Valley.
He said India cannot reach the USD 5 trillion economy target without a 12 per cent per annum growth and dubbed it as a “pipe dream”.