Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that there was no democracy in the country and that all institutions were under the control of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

He made the statement at a press conference ahead of protests on unemployment and inflation that the party is planning to hold across the country.

“What the country built in 70 years has been destroyed in eight years,” Gandhi said. “Today, there is no democracy in the country. There is only a dictatorship of four people.”

The Congress leader alleged that Opposition leaders were not being allowed to talk about inflation either in Parliament or outside, and that they were being arrested instead.

“Unemployment is constantly rising, but the Indian government claims that this is not the truth,” Gandhi said. “Similarly, inflation is constantly rising, but the finance minister claims this is not true.”

The Congress leader criticised the Centre for denying a World Health Organization estimate that 47 lakh citizens had died due to Covid-19 till the end of 2021. The global health body’s estimate was nearly ten times more than the official toll at the end of the year.

“There were heaps of bodies in Gujarat, and at the banks of the river Ganga,” Gandhi said. “Lakhs had died, but the Indian government claims that this is not true.”

Also read: Delhi Police on alert ahead of Congress protest on inflation, unemployment

The Congress leader said that small and medium businesses have been “wiped out” and that the country’s job creation system has been destroyed. “We have a GST [Goods and Services Tax) which is a disaster,” he said. “Go and ask any state, and they’ll tell you that the GST is a disaster.”

Gandhi said that in the current political context, the media is not able to “show courage”, and alleged that anyone speaks against the Centre is being targeted by investigative agencies.

The Congress leader remarked that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had also won elections, because he had control over Germany’s institutions.

Protests on inflation

The Opposition has been staging protests since the Monsoon Session of Parliament started on July 18, seeking a discussion on inflation. Several MPs have been suspended for protesting in both the Houses of Parliament.

The Opposition has also sought to discuss tax increases on several goods and services. On July 19, GST rate hikes kicked in on several goods and services ranging from unbranded packaged food items to hospital rooms with charges above Rs 5,000.

India’s retail inflation has stayed above the Reserve Bank of India’s upper tolerance level of 6% for six straight months till June. The price-rise indicator had touched an eight-year-high of 7.79% in April.