The Congress Tuesday alleged there was an undeclared emergency in the country and taking action against a young girl for raising slogan, against the BJP government in a flight was not just an assault on the freedom of speech and expression but also on India's Constitution.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said the battle for 2019 would be between what he called "fascism" represented by the BJP and democracy represented by the progressive and pluralistic forces in this country and would be a "battle for the very soul of India".
He said the incident involving the young girl in Tamil Nadu was the second one after five activists were arrested from all over the country by the Pune Police.
The Congress leader dubbed the BJP's Tamil Nadu chief's defence as "undemocratic and uncalled for", which is also "completely reprehensible".
"If this is not undeclared emergency, then how else would you characterise this situation? What happened in Tamil Nadu yesterday on the flight from Chennai to Tuticorin was not only an assault on the freedom of speech and expression, not only an assault on our fundamental rights, it was an assault on the Constitution of India, it was an assault on democracy, it was an assault on the Idea of India. It was fascism playing itself out in its fullest glory," he told reporters.
Tewari alleged this was a pattern which has been playing itself out repeatedly and systematically since 2014, when the BJP-NDA government came to power.
He said this pattern started with the "assault" on students of Film Institute in Pune, and incidents like the unfortunate suicide of Rohith Vemula, derecognition of Periyar study circle in IIT-Madras and "vilification campaign" of Jawaharlal Nehru University are examples in this regard.
He said there is a narrative which the NDA-BJP Government has been consistently trying to peddle, which says there will be only one voice in this country and that would be of the BJP-RSS.
"If anybody else speaks, he will be thrown into jail. If you question the BJP, you are anti-national. If you question the Government, you are a traitor. If you question the establishment, you are downright seditious," he said.
"Is this the India that we want? And therefore, it is becoming increasingly clear that the battle for 2019 is going to be between fascism represented by the BJP and democracy represented by the progressive and pluralistic forces of this country.
"This is going to be the battle for 2019. This is not merely the removal of a Government and its replacement by another, 2019 is going to be a battle to be ‘very soul of India’," he said.
The Congress leader alleged "fascism" was on full display when the young girl in Tamil Nadu "hit a raw nerve" when she allegedly raised slogans against the BJP government" and alleged that "unbridled arrogance" was on display when the BJP state chief lodged a complaint against her and she was sent to 15 days of judicial custody.