Q: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi was interrogated by ED for 5 days after which occasion president Sonia Gandhi was quizzed for 3 days. This was adopted by the sealing of the Younger Indian workplace in Herald Home at Bahadurshah Zafar Marg in Delhi. Chief of opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge was additionally summoned and grilled by ED on August 4 for seven hours at a time when the monsoon session of Parliament is in progress. What do you must say about the entire episode?
ED has turn out to be an instrument of Mr Modi’s governance. It’s not knowledgeable and autonomous establishment. It has turn out to be an instrument of political vendetta. It is extremely harmful for our democracy. The mixture of three businesses – ED, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Revenue Tax (IT) – is being utilized by Mr Modi to settle political scores along with his opponents, to threaten state governments and to intimidate opposition political leaders. Clearly, with a conviction charge of lower than 0.5 per cent, ED has emerged as an instrument of Modi’s FDI, the place FDI stands for concern, deception and intimidation. That is the actual FDI.
That is accomplished to divert the folks’s consideration from the day-to-day livelihood points – costs of important commodities, greens, edible oil, wheat, rising unemployment and the mindless imposition of GST on important meals objects.
To divert folks’s consideration, Mr Modi is the grasp of not solely deception however he’s additionally a double WMD – each a weapon of mass deception and weapon of mass distraction.
Q. How is the Congress planning to counter the ED actions in opposition to its leaders?
We had a large nationwide protest on Friday (August 5). We tried to march in direction of the prime minister’s residence from 24, Akbar Street (Congress headquarters) and we additionally tried to march to Rashtrapati Bhavan from Parliament however have been detained and despatched to Kingsway Camp police station. We have been launched after six hours. We had huge protests in several states as properly. These protests have been solely to focus on costs, unemployment, GST (Items and Providers Tax) and Agnipath (short-term recruitment plan within the armed forces). These are all the actual points.
With a purpose to make sure that public consideration shouldn’t be focussed on these points, Mr Modi has unleashed ED. He destabilised the Maharashtra authorities. He’s proper now engaged in Operation Lotus in Jharkhand. He has tried Operation Lotus in Rajasthan however failed. He says it’s Amrit Kaal. However from folks’s perspective, it’s vinaash kaal.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former president Rahul Gandhi and different occasion MPs carrying black garments march from Parliament in direction of Rashtrapati Bhavan as a part of occasion’s nationwide protest over worth rise, unemployment and GST hike on important objects, in New Delhi on August 5. Twitter/ @INCIndia
Q. BJP leaders have stated that Congress leaders and staff got here on the streets solely when the ED summoned Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi within the Nationwide Herald case. In any other case, they don’t come on the streets to boost folks’s points comparable to worth rise and the like.
We got here on the streets in January 2015 first and we compelled Mr Modi to roll again amendments to the Land Acquisition Act. That was due to protests by the Congress occasion in UP, Haryana and in different states. That’s one instance of the mass protests that we’ve got accomplished. We did protest rallies on worth rise on varied events in several states. This isn’t the primary time that we’ve got held a mass protest. Now we have accomplished it prior to now. Now we have highlighted points that we’ve got been unable to do in Parliament. Now we have accomplished it outdoors.
Sure, there was a robust expression of collective solidarity when Rahul Gandhi and Mrs Sonia Gandhi have been known as for questioning. That’s as a result of this was a case of political vendetta. There may be neither cash nor laundering. The place is the query of cash laundering?
The largest laundering machine at the moment is the BJP. It’s a large laundering machine at the moment – laundromat. Have a look at all these individuals who have joined the BJP. When they’re outdoors the BJP, they’re corrupt and are threatened. They get into the BJP laundromat and turn out to be clear and good directors. They’re rewarded as chief ministers and turn out to be ministers within the Union cupboard. That is double requirements.
Q: Why is the Congress dropping in all places? For instance, it misplaced the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections and numerous meeting elections. The Congress is shrinking and 2024 shouldn’t be distant.
Was this query requested of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh when it stored dropping elections from 1952 onwards? Victory and defeat are a part of the political cycle. Sure, we’ve got misplaced. Now we have misplaced nationally and we’ve got misplaced in sure states. However we additionally got here to energy. Our authorities in Madhya Pradesh was destabilised. The chief destabiliser is now within the Union cupboard. Then we weren’t allowed to type a authorities in Manipur, the place we have been the only largest occasion. We have been the only largest occasion in Goa however weren’t allowed to type the federal government.
Now we have misplaced elections. There are organisational infirmities and weaknesses. There is no such thing as a doubt about it. However in 2004, we had been out of energy for eight years and folks had written off the Congress. However what occurred in 2004? Then once more in 2009? High quality, we’ve got not been in energy since 2014.
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Jairam Ramesh, Shashi Tharoor, Pramod Tiwari, Digvijaya Singh and others detained in Kingsway Camp police traces throughout their agitation in opposition to worth rise, unemployment and GST in Delhi on August 5. Photograph: Twitter/ @INCIndia
Q: How hopeful are you of the Congress coming again to energy in 2024?
We struggle, we contest. There may be extra to politics than coming to energy alone. We’re not an NGO. We’re not a matth. We’re a political occasion. Political events exist to contest elections and we contest elections to win. However once we lose, it doesn’t imply the tip of the world. This struggle that we’re in with the BJP shouldn’t be an electoral struggle. It’s an ideological struggle.
Now notably I might say our struggle in opposition to (former PM) Mr (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee was an electoral struggle. As a result of Mr Vajpayee embodied the politics of the Nehruvian period. However since 2014, we’ve got been in an ideological confrontation. All stated and accomplished, Mr Vajpayee and Mr (LK) Advani have been merchandise of the Nehruvian period. So, they have been certain to soak up among the values and ideas of that period. However since 2014, the entire battlelines have shifted.
Q: So, do you suppose had Mr Vajpayee been in energy, the ED factor wouldn’t have occurred?
I don’t consider that Mr Vajpayee practised the politics of vengeance. He received Smt Sonia Gandhi to deal with the UN (United Nations) Basic Meeting on June 23, 2001 in a particular session on HIV, AIDS. She spoke on behalf of the federal government of India. Mr Vajpayee was the prime minister. Mr Vajpayee was despatched to the UN in 1993. So, that politics is over. It’s a completely different ball sport altogether. We’re coping with folks with a killer intuition. You realize what I imply. I don’t have to elaborate.
Q: PM Narendra Modi accuses the Congress of being a parivarwad occasion. BJP leaders allege that Congress leaders are behaving like slaves of a household. What do you must say about that?
Speaking about ED, intimidation, worth rise and unemployment, 16 opposition events and two impartial MPs have signed a joint assertion deploring the Supreme Court docket judgment on the amendments that have been delivered to the Prevention of Cash Laundering Act (PMLA) between 2014 and 2018.
By the way. I used to be the petitioner who went to the Supreme Court docket in 2019 asking it that if this was a cash invoice, the amendments got here by way of the finance act, and that as a member of the Rajya Sabha I used to be denied a possibility for having a significant debate and dialogue on the invoice. The Supreme Court docket has referred that a part of the petition to a bigger bench. Now tomorrow, if the Supreme Court docket have been to say that this isn’t a cash invoice, which it’s not, then does it imply that every one these amendments will probably be known as again?
I don’t need to say something on why the judgment took the form that it did. There are various speculations on that. However the reality is 16 opposition events and two impartial Rajya Sabha MPs have deplored its penalties for our democracy and have known as for a evaluation of that judgment as a result of it offers unbridled powers to the ED which is harmful for our democracy. No checks, no balances. That’s the crux of the problem.
There may be an argument being provided that the Congress occasion and Mr P Chidambaram have been accountable for these amendments. No. These amendments have been accomplished which have been upheld by the Supreme Court docket. PMLA was first handed in 2002 when Mr Yashwant Sinha was the finance minister. It did turn out to be an act however we needed to fulfil worldwide obligations below the FATF (Monetary Motion Process Pressure) which has blacklisted Pakistan.
With a purpose to fulfil our obligations below FATF, this was notified when Mr Chidambaram was the finance minister. So, it’s unfair accountable Mr Yashwant Sinha and Mr Chidambaram. The Supreme Court docket has quoted chapter and verse from them. It is extremely unfair and selective. The crux of the amendments that give draconian powers to the ED have been accomplished between 2014 and 2018 by way of the backdoor route of the cash invoice which I’ve petitioned the Supreme Court docket and for which the judgment has referred that concern to a bigger bench.
Q: Are you submitting a evaluation petition?
The implication of the joint assertion of the opposition events is sure, we will probably be submitting for a evaluation. One of many signatories to the assertion is Mr Kapil Sibal. That ought to inform you one thing.