Coming heavily on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for his 'alliance of subversion' remark, the Congress today accused him of insulting the country's academia on foreign soil and demanded that he apologise for his comments.
"The Finance Minister while addressing students said there is an alliance of subversion across universities campuses in India. He has insulted all the other elements which make up all the academic fraternity of India. He insulted the academia of India, students, teachers. The Finance Minister should apologise for the language he used against Indian academia and that too on foreign soil," Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said.
Tewari also alleged that certain fascist forces have perked up across the country with the support of the present dispensation and urged all secular forces to unitedly fight them.
Congress leader P Chidambaram also took a dig at Jaitley for his remarks, asking whether he was leading an "alliance of subversion" when he was the DUSU president in 1975.
"When Mr Jaitley was President of DUSU in 1975, was he heading an 'Alliance of Subversion'" the former finance minister said in a tweet yesterday.
Tewari claimed Jaitley's remarks reflect the deep-seated paranoia and fear in the government and the BJP that there is an instinctive alliance of subversion which is coming together across Indian universities.
He said the instinctive alliance of subversion is predicated on undermining the fascist principal which is so intrinsic in the government of the NDA and the BJP.
The Congress leader said it is not an isolated incident and alleged that ever since this government came to power 33 months ago, there has been an attempt to try and adjust the discourse 90 degree to the right.
He said such tendencies challenge the fundamental precepts on which the Constitution rests and the ideals on which this country was founded and its is indicative of the kind of people the PM has chosen to follow on Twitter.
"Time has come for all progressive, pluralistic and patriotic forces to come together and fight this relentless assault on Indian democracy which is being fronted by elements of Sangh Parivar, but has the complete and absolute backing of the government, right up to the level of the PM," he claimed.
Jaitley had in London said there was an "alliance of subversion" on certain Indian campuses and that the ultra-Left and separatists were speaking the same language.
While delivering a talk at London School of Economics on Saturday, the Union Minister said they must also allow others with different opinions to speak, he said.
Tewari claimed that the alliance referred to by Jaitley is challenging fascism, intolerance and their right to dominate the discourse which is making the government both "uneasy and paranoid".
He said the violence at Ramjas College was "abhorrent" but even more reprehensible was the attempt by the senior BJP functionaries and the ministers of the government to justify it.
"Let me make it very clear that nobody holds the brief for the balkanisation of India and nobody supports those who advocate the secession of India but it's equally important to understand that freedom of speech and expression also includes the right to offend," he said.
He said those offended have recourse to the law if reasonable expressions circumscribe speech and expressions are in any manner transgressed.
"Violence that took place in Ramjas College is not the solution and attempts to justify that violence by the senior functionaries of the government are both fascist and displays the arrogance of power.
He said the violence would not have been possible had the members of the ABVP known that the Delhi Police would not be a silent bystander.
The Congress leader said the Sangh Parivar supporters tried to question the patriotism of BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav who exposed the alleged inadequacies in food served to paramilitary forces.
He also cited example of Sudheendra Kulkarni, advisor to Prime Minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee, whose face was blackened in Mumbai and of former NDA Minister Arun Shourie whose son was attacked in an attempt to intimidate him.
Noting that there is a pattern of "intimidation and violence which goes across the country", he gave examples of violence in Patiala House Court where the Delhi Police was a "silent bystander", incidents at JNU, the campuses of Haryana University, Hyderabad Central University.
To a question on whether there is a deliberate effort on the part of BJP to influence the Uttar Pradesh elections, Tewari said going by the statements of Prime Minister Narendra Modi it is very clear that he has lost faith in him.
"The way in which, after 33 months, the Prime Minister has taken to communal agenda and left the language of development, it is clear that he longer believes in his web of Start Up and Stand Up India and other jumlas.
"He only has faith in how this country can be communally polarised for making his political gains," he claimed.
(With PTI inputs)