Union minister Arun Jaitley, who returned from the United States on Saturday after medical treatment, claimed that it is the Congress, and not the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government, which is wrecking India’s institutions.
“History will record that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s great grandson [Congress chief Rahul Gandhi] has singularly damaged India’s Parliament as an institution more than anyone else,” Jaitley alleged in his blog. “Attempts are made at 11.00 am every morning by the Congress Party to disrupt both Houses. The Rajya Sabha once known for the quality of its debates has become non-functional.”
Jaitley also claimed that the two speeches Gandhi made on the Rafale deal were based on personal hatred of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “A failed student always hates the class topper,” the minister said.
The Union minister defended the Centre’s decision to refer back one of the recommendations of the Supreme Court collegium for judicial appointments, saying that the Constitution allows the government to do so. “Regarding delay in implementing the recommendations, the last five years have seen more appointments each year than done in any of the United Progressive Alliance years,” he added.
Jaitley also claimed that the “ill-advised” press conference by four judges of the top court in January 2018 was the result of intra-court disputes rather than government interference.
Jaitley alleged that the impeachment motion the Congress filed against former Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra was an attempt to intimidate the judiciary. He also claimed that lawyers opposed to the government have tried to intimidate judges as a “courtroom tactic”. Jaitley said Opposition leaders continue to raise matters like Judge Loya’s death, the Rafale deal, the Vyapam scam etc even after the courts dismissed petitions in these cases as false.
The finance minister claimed that the Opposition’s criticism of electronic voting machines lacked evidence, and is an attack on the Election Commission. He said the BJP was “nowhere close to power” when EVMs were first introduced in 2009. “Multiple parties have won and lost elections held through the EVM,” Jaitley said.
The BJP leader said that while the Narendra Modi-led government has always supported the Indian military, the Opposition questioned the surgical strikes. “The Army Chief was described as a ‘Sadak ka Gunda’,” Jaitley said.
Jaitley also defended the government in its spat with the Reserve Bank of India. Jaitley said the government had legitimately flagged “issues relating to liquidity and credit availability” with the central bank. “The government is the principal manager of the nation’s economy,” Jaitley said.
In December, then RBI Governor Urjit Patel had resigned, citing personal reasons. The government had appointed former bureaucrat Shaktikanta Das as his successor the next day.
Jaitley said the Congress governments in the past were liberal with asking RBI governors to quit. He claimed that the governments of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, as well as former BJP leader and finance minister Yashwant Sinha, had asked RBI governors to resign.
Jaitley denied that the Centre interferes in the functioning of the Central Bureau of Investigation. He claimed that the Centre had been cleansing the investigation agency based on the report of the Central Vigilance Commission, by sending its two top officers on leave. “Restoring the credibility of an investigative agency is strengthening the institution and not assaulting it,” the minister added.
“There are two critical features of these new emerging breed of ‘institution protectors’,” mocked Jaitley. “They criticise the government the maximum and simultaneously argue that the free speech is in danger. They shed crocodile tears for democracy and make every effort to convert the world’s largest democracy into a dynastic one.”
The finance minister said many BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh workers have been killed in Kerala, which is ruled by the Left Front. He alleged that in West Bengal, democracy is in danger, as BJP leaders are prevented from holding rallies.
“The Congress Party’s stand on multiple issues is self-contradictory,” Jaitley added. “It slaughters a cow before the cameras in Kerala, and invokes the National Security Act against the cow killers in Madhya Pradesh.”
Jaitley also accused the Congress of aligning with Maoists in the Chhattisgarh elections, and backing “urban Naxals” in courts.
“It is about time that India and its institutions are protected from these ‘institution wreckers’,” Jaitley concluded, referring to the Congress.