New Delhi, April 12
Leaders of 13 opposition parties, led by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on Wednesday knocked on President Pranab Mukherjee’s door accusing the Modi government of trying to “muzzle voices of dissent”.
In a five-page memorandum submitted to Mukherjee, the opposition leaders cited a number of incidents including increasing cow vigilantism, reports of tampering of EVMs, orchestrating inflammatory narrative on nationalism and misusing brute majority in the Lok Sabha to scuttle Parliamentary debate and scrutiny of Bills.
“We have requested the President for his urgent intervention to protect India’s constitutional democracy and safeguard the fundamental rights of citizens to ensure the rule of law in this country,” Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters.
The delegation led by Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh comprised Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge, M Veerappa Moily, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, Sharad Yadav (JD-U), Satish Mishra (BSP), Neeraj Shekhar (SP), Tariq Anwar (NCP) D Raja (CPI) and leaders from Trinamool, DMK and RJD.
“Many key bills masked as Money Bills expose the intention of the government to deny the Council of States its constitutional position in the enactment of laws. Changing 11 Acts through the omnibus Finance Bill, 2017 is unprecedented, improper and shocking,” they said.
The delegation also raised issues of alleged tampering and malfunctioning of EVMs that tha raised “bonafide concerns on the possibility of manipulating electoral outcomes.
I&B Minister M Venkaiah Naidu dismissed the opposition claims as a “disinformation campaign”. “Today they (opposition) had gone to the President & made all sorts of baseless, absurd allegations. They are just inventing issues now,” Naidu said.
The Opposition leaders cited recent incidents of lynching of a dairy farmer in Alwar in Rajasthan and similar incidents in Una in Gujarat, Dadri in Uttar Pradesh and Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir.
“In a democracy, the rule of law must prevail, but self- styled lumpen elements have indulged in violence, mob lynching of citizens and harassment is being witnessed across the country,” the opposition said.
New Delhi, April 12