Congress leader Ajay Maken accused the Centre on Sunday of conspiring to topple the Congress governments in various states, instead of fighting the financial crisis, COVID-19 and China.
He also said to protect the Constitution and democracy, Congress workers will stage protests in front of the Raj Bhawans across the country on Monday. The Rajasthan unit of the Congress, however, announced that it would not take part in the nationwide call for protests in front of Raj Bhawans.
Addressing a press conference in jaipur, the former Union minister alleged that the Centre and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have launched an attack on democracy and the Constitution.
"The country is battling against the coronavirus pandemic. The countrymen are facing a severe economic crisis. More than 14 crore jobs have been lost according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).
"Small businesses are on the verge of closure. China has taken over our territory. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi, instead of fighting the coronavirus, the economic crisis and China, is conspiring to topple Congress governments," he said. "The reality is that the Modi government and the BJP have launched an attack on democracy and the Constitution," Maken added.
He said it is clear from the BJP's "conspiracy" to topple the Rajasthan government that these "disruptive forces" want to make democracy a slave of the "Delhi Durbar" and a puppet in their hands. The majority verdict is being murdered in Rajasthan and the public mandate crushed, the Congress leader said.
He said the most worrying aspect is that the Constitution and established constitutional traditions are being ruthlessly trampled by the BJP. Maken also said it appears that the hope for justice from the judiciary is diminishing and people occupying constitutional posts such as governors are seen as helpless and unable to protect the Constitution.
He said the people of the country have to ask the BJP government at the Centre whether the mandate given by the people of Rajasthan will be respected or decided by money and the power of the rulers in Delhi. "Can the prime minister and the Centre trample the Constitution and established constitutional traditions for grabbing power?" Maken asked.
He also wondered whether a governor can refuse to call an Assembly session, as proposed by an elected government, and if the judiciary can unconstitutionally interfere with the jurisdiction of the legislature.
Maken said in a show of solidarity with the Rajasthan government, led by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, and for the protection of the Constitution and democracy, Congressmen will stage protests in a "Gandhian way" in front of Raj Bhawans across the country on Monday.
Hours after the announcement, Rajasthan Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasara said in a tweet, "Tomorrow, Congress workers will protest in front of Raj Bhawans as part of 'Save Democracy-Save Constitution' agitation call. But, in Rajasthan we will not do anything like that."
Meanwhile, Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma alleged that the Centre was using various agencies, including the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Income Tax Department, to bring down the Rajasthan government.
"Isn't it a conspiracy to weaken democracy in the country by misusing constitutional bodies one by one…. When constitutional institutions and democracy are in danger, then the country will move towards dictatorship," he said. Transport Minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas said that the Governor is a constitutional head and not a party worker.
"Governor Kalraj Mishra is not a BJP worker… It is the legal right of the Cabinet to send the proposal to the Governor for convening the session of the Legislative Assembly. The Governor is not bigger than the Constitution," he said.
During the day, National Students' Union of India (NSUI) state president Abhishek Chaudhary gave red roses to the family members of the dissident Congress MLAs at their residences to appeal to them to return to the Congress family.