Statement by Congress President, Shri Mallikarjun Kharge on Constitution Day on November 26, 2022

The Looming Crisis of the Indian Constitution

“If the people who are elected are capable men of character and integrity, they should be able to make the best of a defective Constitution. If they are lacking in these, the Constitution cannot help the country.”

  • Dr. Rajendra Prasad

The above words by India’s first President, who also served as the President of our Constituent Assembly, rings deafeningly true as we celebrate the 73rd year of the Constitution of the largest democracy in the world. A Constitution that has successfully stood the test of time for over seven decades, today this very Constitution faces a fundamental crisis, indeed an existential crisis for the spirit behind its text.

This crisis finds its roots in the RSS’ ever-expanding reach within state institutions and the electoral (and by extension judicial) legitimacy of its ideology, with the BJP being in power since 2014. The government has completely surrendered itself and its institutions to the diktats of the RSS, an organisation that pushes hateful propaganda under the garb of social service. In fact, it is no longer incorrect to use the terms RSS and BJP interchangeably.

Since coming to power, RSS has used the BJP as a political vehicle on every opportunity to curtail freedoms, enshrined in the Constitution. Illegal has become legal because the fringe has now become mainstream. The foremost tangible spirit of our democracy is being distorted and disrespected by people who are using it as a means to push a completely contrasting agenda.

People who perpetrate RSS ideology are against the Constitutional guarantee of reservation to Dalits, Adivasis and Backward Classes.

Within the system, the ruling party has restricted all avenues for the opposition to express dissent. Routine muting of microphones in the Parliament whenever the BJP’s (in)actions are questioned, and spaces in the media that are accessible to us are shrinking every day.

Any dissent by the opposition is being ‘tackled’ by coercively misusing central investigative agencies CBI& ED etc. against them. The functioning and independence of the Election Commission of India (ECI) has been jeopardised. Opaque system of Electoral Bonds enforced as money bill has been brought to give undue advantage to ruling party.

Mysterious deaths of judges; their urgent transfers before they were to pronounce judgments; or their hounding when they have stood against the government, hasn’t gone unnoticed by people of India. On top of it, the Law Minister lectures the Executive and Judiciary by saying “Aapas Mein Ladne Ka Koi Fayda Nahi Hai” (sic)

On the ground, the BJP-RSS cadre’s only alternative to constructive dialogue is violence. The natural instincts of this group and its messengers are only to subvert, and their only motivation is to divide the country along religious, caste and communal lines.

Children are given instruction in weapon training, in public spaces and institutions from a young age. Universities have been made a platform to propagate the partisan agenda of the ruling dispensation and strangulate any dissenting view. History books are being rewritten to suit and perpetuate BJP’s hateful agenda. There is moral surveillance in all public arenas. Privacy is being banished. Citizens and civil society have been mercilessly attacked by the topmost echelons of power, for raising their voice.

Attacks against SC/STs, the poor and OBCs are being celebrated. Women are being blamed for atrocities inflicted on them and criminals, close to ruling party, are being shielded.

We have reached a point where there is growing disharmony not just among people but also between governments and states. Ours is no longer a collaborative federal nation.

On what should be a proud day for us all, we are witnessing the onset of what Baba saheb would have referred to as “lawless law”, riddled with never-ending infringements on fundamental rights, systematically engineered by the BJP-RSS government since they have been in power.

It is important on this occasion to recall Baba Saheb’s caution. He had said, “Will Indians place the country above their creed or will they place creed above country? I do not know. But this much is certain that if the parties place creed above country, our independence will be put in jeopardy a second time and probably be lost forever. This eventuality we must all resolutely guard against. We must be determined to defend our independence with the last drop of our blood.”

With ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, the Congress Party has embarked on a mission to unite our nation at this critical juncture, against the forces of hatred, divisiveness and socio- economic deprivation. We have always taken it upon ourselves to safeguard our constitutional morality.

This Constitution Day, let’s reignite the fire that ensured our victory, despite such divisive and status quoist forces 75 years ago, against the hegemonic ‘British Raj’. Let us unitedly take ownership of bringing India back to its constitutional values and restoring the nation to a time when these values thrived. The only way to control this new hegemonic disposition is to counter it with ideological and moral strength. That, above all, is the legacy that our founding fathers must have hoped to leave behind.