Kanyakumari: Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said the tricolour is under attack by BJP and RSS that are dividing India on the lines of religion and language, and urged the people to defend the ideas and values behind the flag.
Speaking at the launch of the Congress’ 3,570-km ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ at a rally, he said every single institution of the country is under attack and alleged that the BJP considers the tricolour its personal property.
He alleged that India is facing its worst-ever economic crisis along with the highest unemployment rate ever and the country is headed towards a disaster.
He said millions of people feel there is a need to take action to bring the country together and that is why the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ is being undertaken.
“Some people, they look at the flag and they see three colours, a chakra and a piece of cloth and they salute the flag. But… this is much more than that.
“And this flag… did not come easily. It was not given to us. It was not a gift. It was earned by the Indian people,” Gandhi told the gathering.
He said the tricolour represents every citizen of the country and religion and language of every person.
“This flag guarantees every single Indian protection in this country. It guarantees every single person a free and fair life in this country. It guarantees everybody the right to practice every religion, to speak every language that one desires. And today, brothers and sisters, this flag is under attack,” he charged.
“Please remember it is not enough to just salute the flag, it is important to defend the ideas and the values behind the flag,” he said.
Gandhi alleged all institutions in the country are under attack by the BJP.
“Today every single institution is under attack by the BJP. They think that this flag is their personal property. They think they can single-handedly determine the future of this country and the future of the states of this country. They think they can frighten the opposition using ED, CBI, Income Tax (department).
“The problem is that they do not understand the Indian people. The Indian people do not get scared. It doesn’t matter how many hours of interrogation they do… not a single opposition leader is going to be scared of the BJP,” the former Congress chief said.
The BJP thinks it can divide the country on lines of religion and language, but “this country will always remain united”, he said.
Explaining the idea behind the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, Gandhi said, “It is very important that we bring the people of India together and make sure they are united so that India remains strong. And that is the aim of the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ which is designed to listen to the people of India.”
Unlike the BJP and the RSS, he said, “We want to listen to the wisdom of the people of India.”
In his nearly 30-minute speech, Gandhi claimed India is facing its worst-ever economic crisis, the highest level of unemployment and the country is heading towards a disaster.
He alleged the BJP government has systematically attacked farmers, labourers and small and medium businesses in the country.
“A handful of large businesses control the entire country today. Ports, airports, coal, power, telecom, and every single industry is controlled by a handful of businessmen.
“The prime minister would not last one day without their support. They control the media and they ensure that the prime minister is on the television screen all day. And in exchange, the prime minister carries out policies that are in their interest,” he charged.
Demonetisation, a “flawed” Goods and Services Tax regime and the three “anti-farmer” laws were the three things they needed to ensure they remained in business, Gandhi said.
“The idea is very similar to what the British used to do. Divide India, make Indians fight with each other and then steal from the Indian people. Those days it used to be called the East India Company. It was one company that controlled all of India. Today, there are three-four companies that control the whole of India,” he alleged.
Gandhi also thanked Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin for joining him at the rally.