New Delhi: The Congress today dismissed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's proposed hunger strike over the non-functioning of parliament as a "photo-op", even as the party demanded sacking of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath over the Unnao rape case.

Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said the proposed fast by the BJP MPs led by the prime minister tomorrow was a "drama", adding that time has come for the PM to take 'sanyas' (retirement). "It is only a photo opportunity. The BJP did not allow the parliament, the country's temple of democracy, to function when they were in the opposition and neither are they allowing it to function now when they are in power.

"Prime Minister ji, it is not the time to observe fast, in view of your failures... it is time to take retirement instead. If you do not wake up now, you should understand that the time of your retirement will come in 2019 when people will vote you out," he said. Congress president Rahul Gandhi earlier today hit out at the Centre over the alleged rape of a 18-year-old woman by a BJP MLA and the custodial death of her father in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao district.

"The brutality unleashed on a father seeking justice for his daughter in Uttar Pradesh has shamed humanity. I hope the prime minister will soon observe a fast over the atrocities committed on women, failure of law and order and rising anarchy under the BJP rule," he tweeted in Hindi. Gandhi also posted a purported video in which the victim's father is seen speaking against the BJP MLA. The video, in which the victim's father alleged that he was mercilessly beaten up by the MLA's brother and others, went viral and was shown by several TV channels.

Surjewala said justice for women in BJP-ruled states had become a "mirage" as the "BJP's eco-system is influencing the legal process by building a false narrative". "Exploiting the religion/caste of the rape victim, threatening her family, even killing her father is the new modus operandi of the vigilante groups mushrooming under the patronage of the BJP! "Rampant abuse of political power to influence and subvert legal process and shield is the chief characteristic of the BJP which politically exploited the Nirbhaya rape case, and is now doing the same with rape cases in Kathua (J&K) and Unnao (UP)," he said.

Taking a dig at the BJP's popular slogans on saving the girl child, the Congress communications in-charge said, "'Beti Bachao' has now become 'Beti Ke Pita Ko Bhi Marwao' and the slogan of 'Bahut Hua Naari Par Vaar..' is now a cruel joke on the women of India". He also hit out at the BJP-led Uttar Pradesh government for withdrawing a 7-year-old rape case against former MoS Chinamayanand in the Vajpayee government.

"If 'goondas' (hooligans) are going to be protected in this fashion by UP chief minister and the BJP government, he has no right to continue as the chief minister," Surjewala alleged. "Ever since he (Adityanath) has taken over, number of rape cases have gone up by 36 per cent in the northern state. Incidents of rape between April 1, 2017 and January 31, 2018 stand at 15,000," he said.

The Congress leader also cited the data of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) stating that Uttar Pradesh topped the country in 2016 with 4,816 cases of rape. The other two states with the highest rates of crime against women were Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, both ruled by the BJP, he said. Surjewala added that 803 incidents of rape and 729 murders were reported in the first two months of Adityanath's tenure. (PTI)