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Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday alleged that anti-national and anti-poor forces were spreading hatred and venom of violence in India and the influence of ‘tanashahi’ (dictatorship) on the country’s ‘lokshahi’ (democracy) was rising.

She also said that the founding fathers of the country would have never imagined that the Constitution and democracy will be in danger 75 years after the Independence as “bad thinking is now dominating, freedom of expression is in danger and democratic institutions are being ruined”.

Gandhi was addressing the foundation stone laying ceremony of the new Chhattisgarh Assembly building to be built in Nava Raipur, the upcoming capital city of the state, through a recorded video message in Hindi.For the past some time, an attempt is being made to derail our country. New challenges have come before our democracy. Today, the country stands at a crossroads. Anti- poor and anti-nation forces and those who rule by making people fight against each other have been spreading hatred and venom of violence,” she said.

“Bad thinking is dominating good thinking, freedom of expression is in danger and democratic institutions are being ruined. The influence of ‘tanashahi’ has been increasing on ‘lokshahi’,” she added.

Without naming anyone, Gandhi further said, they want to suppress the voice of the people of the country.

“What do they want? They want people of the country, our youth, our tribal people, our women, our farmers, shopkeepers and small traders, jawans to keep their mouths shut,” she said.

Two years later, the country will complete 75 years of Independence, Gandhi added.

“Father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, former prime minister Pt Jawaharlal Nehru, G V Mavalankar (Speaker of Constituent Assembly of India), Dr B R Ambedkar and our other ancestors would have never imagined that after 75 years of Independence, the country will face such a difficult situation and our Constitution and democracy will be in danger,” she said.

Extending wishes on the foundation stone laying ceremony, she said, “Today is an important day and we all should take a pledge to protect the foundation of democracy.

We should also take a pledge that till the time we are in power, we should take a decision keeping in view the interest of people standing at the end of a queue.” “It should be remembered that the Constitution will not be saved by buildings rather it will be protected by emotions,” she asserted.

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi also attended the programme via video-conferencing from Delhi, officials said.

Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Chhattisgarh Assembly Speaker Charan Das Mahant and state ministers were present at the venue of the function in Nava Raipur.