New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi launched a frontal attack on Prime Minister Narendra
Modi and his government, accusing them of sabotaging the winter session of Parliament on flimsy grounds by "locking the temple of democracy".
While addressing a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) here, she urged the government not to call off the session where questions had to be answered.
"The Modi government in its arrogance has cast a dark shadow on India's Parliamentary democracy by sabotaging the winter session of Parliament on flimsy grounds," she said.
Gandhi said the government is "mistaken if it thinks that by locking the temple of democracy, it will escape constitutional accountability ahead of the Assembly elections"
She noted that Parliament was the forum where questions were asked -- "questions about corruption in high places, conflict of interest of serving ministers in defence deals".
The Congress chief said the government was obliged to answer these questions, but in a bid to avoid such issues ahead of the Gujarat elections, it had taken the "extra-ordinary step" of not holding a winter session.
"The prime minister had the audacity to have a midnight celebration in Parliament to launch an ill prepared and flawed GST but today he lacks the courage to face Parliament," she said.
The Congress president hit out at the government over the GST and demonetisation, alleging that the moves had left millions of people suffering.
The winter session of Parliament is traditionally held for a month from the third week of November.
According to sources, the government is considering a truncated session of around 10 days in mid-December.
Hitting out at the government, Gandhi said unemployment, rising inflation, falling exports and the GST caused "tremendous suffering" to millions of people.
"A year later, demonetisation has done nothing but rub salt on the wounds of distressed farmers, small traders, housewives and daily workers," she said, adding that the "fortunes of a handful" were being built by destroying the future of the poor.
"Yet the prime minister continues with greater vigour, to make announcements, false promises and quote facts and figures that have nothing to do with the reality on the ground."
She accused the Modi government of "forcefully trying to change the history of modern India by systematically erasing the contributions" made by Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.
The government was rewriting textbooks through "malicious ... propaganda" and by "ignoring" the importance of the birth centenary of Indira Gandhi, she said.
"This vilification is blatant and for all to see," she said.
Sonia Gandhi also urged Congress members to "work hard" for a positive result in Gujarat, where Rahul Gandhi is campaigning along with other party leaders.
"Let us do our best to prove that people are not fooled and that they will make the right decision and defeat the present dispensation there," she said.
She thanked the party's central election authority for carrying out the "huge exercise" of organisational polls in the Congress with "utmost diligence, integrity and impartiality".
The CWC also cleared the poll schedule for the next party president's election starting December 1.
The Congress president said the internal polls reaffirmed that the party's roots were spread across every district of India and "no political party can match the plurality and diversity of the Congress".
Later addressing the media, Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said with the internal polls the Congress party "has probably emerged as the biggest political party in the country and the world" as it has units in every state, block, district and village.