Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday castigated the Narendra Modi-led government at the “Bharat Bachao” – “save the country” – rally at New Delhi’s Ramlila grounds, ANI reported.

Gandhi reiterated that he will not apologise for his “rape in India” comment which caused an uproar in Parliament the previous day. “My name is not Rahul Savarkar,” he said furiously. “My name is Rahul Gandhi. I will never apologise for truth. I will die but not apologise and neither will any Congress leader apologise.”

The Congress leader accused the government of dividing the country on religious lines, referring to the amendments to Citizenship Act. “The country knows the situation today,” he said. “They work to create divides – between religions – in Jammu and Kashmir, in North East. Go to Assam, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh. Go and see what Narendra Modi did there, he has set ablaze those regions.”

The first national-level mobilisation by the Congress was organised to highlight the “divisive and disruptive” policies of the Narendra Modi-led government.

Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi said Modi and Amit Shah were not bothered that the amended Citizenship Act would “shred the soul of India”. “The time has come to save the country and we have to struggle hard for it,” she added.

Gandhi also accused the BJP leaders of violating the Constitution on a daily basis. “Today, the atmosphere is such that whenever they feel like they impose an Article, revoke an Article, change the status of a state,” she said. “Whenever they feel like, they revoke President’s Rule and pass Bills without debate.”

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra urged people to raise their voices against the Bharatiya Janata Party. “You love this country, become its voice,” she said. “If we don’t raise our voice, stay back in the darkness of fear and lies even in these circumstances, and stay quiet then our Constitution will be destroyed.”

The Congress general secretary said in the six years of Modi government the economy has suffered. “Modi hai to unemployment hai,” she said mocking the “Modi hai to mumkin hai”, or ‘Modi makes it possible’ slogan of the government. “Our economy was developing at a rate that the world turned their attention to us, but in six years of Modi government, our economy has tanked, people are losing jobs, factories are shutting down.”

Vadra also spoke about her meeting with the family of the Uttar Pradesh woman who was set on fire by her alleged rapists. “When I saw the father of the Unnao rape victim burying his face in his palms and crying, I remembered my own father whose body I saw as a 19-year-old,” she told the crowd. “My father’s blood is in this soil just as the blood of the Unnao victim is nurturing this earth. This country is ours and it is our moral duty to save it.”

She added that justice was everyone’s aspiration and one must fight for it. “At present, a litany of injustices are happening,” said the Congress leader. “Farmers are under stress. The poor are burdened with difficulties while the rich and their coffers are being filled. Today, someone who does not fight against this injustice will be called a coward.”

Meanwhile, Former Union minister P Chidambaram accused the BJP government of wrecking the economy of the country. “Yet ministers are completely clueless,” he said at the rally. “Yesterday finance minister said everything is alright, we’re on top of the world. The only thing she didn’t say was ‘achhe din aane wale hain’ [good days are about to come]”.

Senior party leaders will speak about the “failures” of the Bharatiya Janata Party and their alleged attempt to divide the country and its people.

“We want to send a strong message to the BJP government that its policies have failed to improve the lives of people,” party leader Ajay Singh Yadav told Hindustan Times ahead of the rally. “Instead of tackling real issues, such as job creation, boosting industrial growth and checking inflation, BJP creates bogeys like the Citizenship Amendment Act, abrogation of Article 370 and suchlike.”

The president of Congress’ Delhi unit, Subhash Chopra, said more than 50,000 people from the city will take part in the protest.

The party’s overseas unit will also join the “Bharat Bachao” rally through demonstrations around the world. “Our message to save India from divisiveness, arrogance and incompetence will be spread worldwide,” the unit said.

Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Ashok Gehlot, KC Venugopal, Mukul Wasnik and Avinash Pande visited the Ramlila grounds to make an assessment of the preparations ahead of the rally.