Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi at the party’s Jan Vedna Sammelan at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday. Image Credit: PTI

New Delhi: For the first time in history, an Indian Prime Minister is being ridiculed across the world for his “incompetent” decision of demonetisation, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said on Wednesday.

Addressing a party convention here, Gandhi also charged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) with weakening the country’s constitutional institutions.

Dubbing the demonetisation move Modi’s “personal decision”, Gandhi said “world’s biggest financial experiment” was undertaken on the whims of the Prime Minister and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

“For the first time in history, the Prime Minister of India is being ridiculed [the] world over.

“Never before has every single economist of any repute said that the Prime Minister has taken an incompetent and badly thought-out decision,” said Gandhi about the November 8 decision to demonetise Rs1,000 and Rs500 notes.

Gandhi also asserted that the “acche din” (good days) promised by Modi during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls will actually come with the return of the Congress to power.

“Every single institution that we constructed, be it the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), judiciary or the Election Commission, the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party], RSS and Modi have weakened them. Today, there is no institution in this country that is respected,” he said.

“We did not do this over the last 70 years,” he said pointing to Modi and the BJP.

“The RBI, an institution that is the financial bedrock of the country, has been ridiculed, [the] position of the RBI Governor has been ridiculed.

“The reason is that the RSS and the BJP are under the impression that nobody’s opinion matters in the country except their own,” said Gandhi claiming that demonetisation was not a decision of the apex bank.

He added: “Having failed to hide behind ‘Make in India’, ‘Skill India’ and ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ campaigns, Modi tried hiding behind his home-made economists like Baba Ramdev ... and broke the country’s financial spine.”

“After discussing with just two-three people, he undertook the world’s biggest financial experiment. And if you question him, he says, ‘Who are you?’, the country will be run only by Modi and Mohan Bhagwat,” said Gandhi.

“The Prime Minister jumps from clean India, to surgical strikes, to demonetisation. He keeps jumping from one thing to another and people wonder when good days will come.”

“I’ll tell them that it will come, [it will come] when Congress comes to power again,” he said.

Gandhi also asserted his party’s commitment to protecting the country’s constitutional institutions.

“We want to tell the country that India’s soul is its institutions and we would protect them. We are opposed to Modi and Bhagwat’s mindset that only two-three people can run the country. We will defeat this mindset,” affirmed Gandhi.

He also asked Modi to go to the poor and the farmers to know about the effects of his decision and to “feel their pain”.

He also said that the media was under “certain constraints”.

“We understand their nervousness and predicament. But, there is a responsibility that you have in highlighting the pain the people are feeling. You must not shy away from that responsibility,” he added.

Mounting a scathing attack on BJP and RSS, Gandhi on Wednesday accused them of creating an atmosphere of “fear” among the people, asserting the Congress will defeat their ideology and remove the saffron party from power.

Observing that it is a clash between two philosophies, the Congress vice-president said while his party’s philosophy asks people to be fearless, BJP’s is to create “fear” and “scare” the people.

“This is a fight between two philosophies. This is not a new fight. This fight is thousands of years old. The Congress party’s philosophy says do not fear. The other philosophy says instill fear and scare them.

“You look at BJP’s policies. Their entire aim is to scare the people of the country. Fear terrorism, Maoism, demonetisation, scare the media. In two-three months, in the entire country, they have spread this fear,” Gandhi said.

He said while the Congress party told labourers and farmers to be fearless come what may, they will be guaranteed 100 days [of] employment and none will be able to take away their land without paying the market price for it.

Gandhi said in states like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, where Adivasis have stood up for their land, water and forest rights, they have been shot down.

“These people [BJP and RSS] think that they can rule by spreading hatred and fear among the people. Congress party will defeat and remove them from power. We do not hate them [BJP and RSS] but we will defeat their ideology,” Gandhi said.

He said Congress party has always stood for dispelling the fear and asserted that India is strong and the country and its people do not to fear anything in this world.