Rahul Gandhi attacks PM, alleges nobody can get justice without fearing consequences

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(Eds: Adds details, combines related stories) Puducherry, Feb 17 (PTI) Attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday alleged none can get justice from the judicial system in the country without being terrified of the consequences.

Hitting the campaign trail for elections to the assembly in Congress-ruled Puducherry, likely in April, he also accused Modi of not allowing the Narayanasamy government to function for the last nearly five years, a reference to the running feud between the ministry and outgoing Lt Governor Kiran Bedi over many issues.

Gandhi, however, avoided any reference to the political crisis faced by the Congress following a spate of resignations of its MLAs since last month, culminating in the government slipping into minority in the assembly on Tuesday.

He assured a bright future for the people of Puducherry if they vote for the party again.

During his about seven-hour visit, the former Congress president also interacted with the fishermen community and students of a women's college where he touched on various issues.

He said the killing of his father Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 brought him tremendous pain but he nursed no anger or hatred towards those responsible for it and he pardoned them.

At the public meeting, Gandhi alleged: 'Today, an Indian person cannot get justice from the judicial system without being terrified of what will be done to him.' While journalists feared for their lives, Bills were passed in the Parliament without any discussion and elected leaders like him were not allowed to speak in the Lok Sabha because, 'one man thinks he is not the Prime Minister but he is the king of the country,' he said.

He alleged the Prime Minister destroyed the institution of the Lt Governor and did not value the people's mandate and insulted their vote.

'Through the office of the LG, he has repeatedly sent you a message saying that your vote does not matter.' 'PM Modi has taken your dreams, aspirations and worked against them by destroying the institution of the Lt Governor, just like he destroys all other institutions,' he alleged.

Modi should have respected the people's will and allocated resources that were rightfully their but it was not done by him, he alleged.

The PM disrespected people's tradition, history, past and would do the same to their future.

'We are committed to ensuring that your vote translates into a positive future. For us this is not an electoral battle. This is a battle for the spirit of Puducherry.

It is a battle to allow you to live the way you want to live. it is a battle to ensure that your beautiful land has a future that you choose.' Without naming Bedi, he asked if she was born or brought up in Puducherry and whether she understood its traditions, (a former French colony) and on what basis she ran its administration.

'Who gave her the right to decide the future of the people of Puducherry. How dare somebody do this to you. Just because they think they are powerful, they think they control the Indian government, just because they control the CBI, the ED ? We are never ever going to allow it.' Assuring people that Congress would defend Puducherry's tradition, culture, language and its unique history, he said the union territory does not belong to 'someone from outside' and it was not the personal property of anyone.

'When we come to power in Delhi, I am going to guarantee you that we make sure that no one can ever decide Puducherry's future other than a person who comes from here. No Lt governor is going to decide your future.' Attacking the BJP-led Centre and Modi, he said people who stood up against the government were dubbed a criminal, terrorist or anti-national.

According to the current dispensation, the nation and its people should listen to Modi's 'Mann Ki Batt,' and only follow the Prime Minister's ideas, be it clothing or eating preferences, he alleged.

Gandhi reiterated his allegation that Modi only worked for a few richest people in the country and also targeted him over demonetisation, Goods and Services Tax and not helping migrant workers when they returned home during the coronavirus pandemic. Rich businessmen got relief to the tune of Rs 1,50,000 crore, he claimed.

Referring to the contentious farms laws, he alleged if they were implemented the future of farmers would be snatched away. A whole lot of people like labourers, small business people, mandi workers and vegetable vendors would become unemployed while a few rich people would benefit.

The middle class would have to pay higher rates for fruits and vegetables and at the same time farmers shall get much less for their produce.

Stressing on India's diversity and how it made the country strong, he said Puducherry might be geographically small but it was as important as the biggest state in the country.

Chief Minister V Narayanasamy said Prime Minister Modi in collusion with the Lt Governor and opposition had tried to topple his government but to no avail.

He also reiterated his claim that the Centre planned to merge Puducherry with neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

'The people of Puducherry would oppose this plan tooth and nail and ensure that Puducherry's identity as a separate union territory is protected.' PTI VGN COR VS VS