Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan has attacked the Narendra Modi government, calling it the "most corrupt" in the history of India, and said its performance has been "abysmal and deplorable". He also accused the BJP-led dispensation of misusing the sedition law, and said the Congress wants to differentiate between the anti-national acts and opposition to the government.
Mr Chavan claimed there was fear among people now that if PM Modi, who has "dictatorial tendencies", continued to be in power, the Indian democracy would be in trouble.
The former Maharashtra chief minister said in 2014, PM Modi had promised a corruption-free government.
"In 2014, PM Modi emerged as the winner even before the campaign started. There were several corruption allegations against UPA-II, which people believed. Many of the allegations were fabricated. We could not effectively defend ourself. The Anna Hazare movement also created an atmosphere against us. Modi's corruption-free government promise was very important as many people voted him to power for that," Mr Chavan said.
"But, if you analyse his (track) record, it is abysmal and deplorable. Modi''s government is the most corrupt in the history of India," he alleged.
The former Union minister charged that Modi launched a surgical strike on Indian economy through demonetisation.
Mr Chavan said he expected the Congress-NCP to do better in this election as compared to the 2014 tally of two (Congress) and four (NCP) seats in the Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtra. "The mood of the nation has changed. The wave is against PM Modi. The opposition has sensed that the Modi government can be defeated. There is a genuine fear that if a man like Modi, with dictatorial tendencies, returns to power, there will be a question mark on the future of Indian
democracy," he added.
"We are happy with the ''tukde tukde'' label. Let''s not forget that it is the Congress party, which made ''tukde tukde'' of Pakistan," he said, responding to BJP charge that the party manifesto is written by the "tukde tukde gang".
The BJP has been using "tukde tukde" gang to refer to students accused of raising anti-India slogans in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in 2016 and has generalised the phrase to attack those it accuses of sympathising with Maoists and separatists.
Congress party''s record very clear, he said, adding that wars fought under the political leadership of the Congress have seen India decisively defeat Pakistan.
When asked about the promise of review of sedition law in the Congress manifesto, Chavan said the party makes it clear that it wants to differentiate between the act against the nation and opposing the government.
"There is a difference between anti-national acts of stealing defence secrets and selling it to Pakistan and saying demonetisation has been the most stupid decision of the Modi government," Mr Chavan said.
Mr Chavan said the Congress-led opposition has deliberately avoided a national alliance against the BJP since it would have to be under some leader. "This is what Modi wanted- to convert the election into a US presidential style campaign," he added.
When asked about alliances, he said the Congress has 23 parties on board in the state-level alliances.
"There are conflict of interests in some states. But, in a large country this is bound to happen. By and large, alliances are in place," he said.
Targeting the BJP, he said on the issues of development, national welfare, the ruling party is no match to Congress. "All their promises have fallen flat. Hence, it is effectively using methods of coercion and inducement. Their motto is anything goes in politics...," he said.
Referring to the I-T raids in Madhya Pradesh, Chavan said it was "tax terrorism". "To threaten and create an atmosphere of terror," he
When asked about Shiv Sena joining hands with BJP, Mr Chavan alleged, "It is clear agencies like ED, CBI have been utilised."
Mr Chavan said the Rafale deal was a complicated case of huge corruption. "It is the largest defence corruption scandal where laws and decisions have been twisted around. (Former Defence minister Manohar) Parrikar refused to toe the line to increase the price in the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC). The matter was not resolved at the DAC and hence it was taken up by the Cabinet Committee on Security, where the prime minister approved the price hike," he claimed.