New Delhi, Apr 12 (PTI) Dubbing the BJP’s protest on Parliament impasse as a “drama”, the Congress today attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “silence” on the Unnao and Kathua rape cases and asked whether he would observe a fast on the rising crimes against women under BJP rule in the country.

The Congress demanded that Parliament be reconvened to discuss key issues, saying time has come for the prime minister and the BJP to “repent and apologise” to the people instead of indulging in “theatrics of a farcical fast (upvaas)”, and that the ruling party was on its way to ‘sanyaas’ (retirement) and later ‘vanvaas’ (exile) in 2019.

Congress spokesperson Kapil Sibal asked why the accused BJP MLA in the Unnao gangrape case was yet to be arrested, and alleged that the Uttar Pradesh chief minister was “protecting” the lawmaker .

Sibal alleged that Modi was “not serious” about rising crime against women in the country and cited National Crime Records Bureau’s numbers to substantiate his charge that atrocities against women, including rapes, were “highest” in BJP-ruled states of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

He questioned whether the prime minister will observe a fast to register his protest against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on inaction against the BJP MLA accused in the Unnao rape case.

The BJP held a country-wide fast today to corner the opposition on washout of the Budget session of Parliament.

“At a time when girls in the country are being attacked, the fast is just aa ‘jumla’ (rhetoric),” he said, adding, “Don’t do such politics. This is not the time to stay silent but to speak up. This is not the time to observe a fast, the country wants to hear the ‘Mann ki baat’ of the prime minister.” He said the prime minister should come forward and “say that he is observing a fast against the BJP-ruled state government over the protection” it is giving to an MLA accused of rape.

“If you remain silent, the public will also remain silent and tell you their ‘Mann ki Baat’ in 2019 elections,” he said.

“The ‘Beti Bachao’ slogan given by the prime minister now seems like a warning…Do you want to give the message to every family that you should hide girls, not save them. If you don’t hide them, this will happen,” he said while referring to the rapes in Unnao and Kathua.

Congress communications incharge Randeep Surjewala termed the BJP’s fast as “farcical” and wondered when would the prime minister talk of “Jan ki baat (people’s talk), instead of jumlas and rhetoric and managing headlines”.

“A farcical fast by a fascist BJP. PM Modi remorse for failing India can only be through a ‘Penance Upwaas’! (Sic) “Facing imminent defeat in Karnataka in May 2018 and LS in 2019, PM Modi and Amit Shah, are enacting an absurd drama of ‘photo-ops’ and ‘headline management’,” he tweeted.

“Time for ‘Upvas Ka Jumla’ over! Time for ‘Sanyaas’ (retirement) from power begins and will culminate into ‘Vanvaas’ (exile) in 2019!,” Surjewala said.

Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma demanded that Parliament be reconvened to debate and legislate on key issues He accused the BJP of “orchestrating” disruptions in Parliament to avoid a debate on issues such as the multi-crore-rupee bank scam involving Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, the CBSE paper leak, the SC/ST Act issue and farm distress.

“It is time for the prime minister and the BJP to reflect, repent and apologise to the people of the country instead of engaging in the theatrics of a farcical fast. Let the government reconvene Parliament to debate and legislate,” he told PTI.

Sibal said people of the country are not interested in knowing about the PM ‘s fast but his stand on “rising” crime against women in the country.

“Unfortunately the manner in which the prime minister has conducted himself suggests that he is not serious about the kind of things that are happening in this country,” he said.

Sibal questioned the prime minister’s silence on Kathua and Unnao rape incidents, saying Modi talks of Mahatma Gandhi but the latter never remained silent on such issues.

He also took a dig at Amit Shah, saying “he will only talk about animals and trees and things like that. What will he talk about? He is an animal lover, it is quite clear.” Congress general secretary Mohan Prakash said, “It is the arrogance and hypocrisy of Prime Minister Modi and the BJP that they are observing fast today. The BJP’s fast is a copy of the Congress’ protest of few days ago.” “Whenever a party (in power) tries to copy programme or protest of any other party, it marks the farewell of the ruling party. It also proves that the BJP-led government is tired. The BJP is not going to win the 2019 general polls,” he claimed.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.