Advani slights Modi over freedom

Senior BJP leader tells PM not to infringe democracy

Advani slights Modi over freedom

Facing opposition fire for not taking them along, the Modi government on Sunday got a gentle nudge from BJP veteran L K Advani.

“It is our collective duty to ensure that democracy and fundamental freedoms of citizens in India will never again be infringed,” Advani said at a function to commemorate the 113th birth anniversary of Jayprakash Narayan.

Though Advani’s remarks were made in the context of the Emergency clamped by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1975, the subtle message was not lost out, particularly at a time Prime Minister Narendra Modi is accused of being silent on the Dadri lynching and other incidents of strife.

“We need to promote the values of tolerance, consensus-building and cooperation, transcending political, ideological and social differences, in all walks of life, including in politics and governance,” said Advani, who was shifted to the ‘Margadarshak Mandal’ of the BJP by Modi after sweeping to power in May 2014.

“We also need eternal vigilance against any attempt by anybody to assault these values,” he said at the function attended by Modi, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, four Governors – Kalyan Singh, O P Kohli, Balram Dass Tandon and Vajubhai Vala – and former Deputy Speaker Kariya Munda.

The Modi government has faced allegations of not taking the opposition in the lawmaking process in Parliament.

While the GST bill has stuck in the Rajya Sabha after the Modi government virtually rejected the suggestions made by the Congress, the Centre had to eat a humble pie by allowing the controversial Ordinance amending the land acquisition law to lapse.

Advani also recalled President Pranab Mukherjee’ remarks last week about not allowing the core values of India’s civilisation – tolerance and diversity – to go waste.
“These values must be safeguarded,” Advani said.

Mukherjee’s remarks were seen as a stern reminder in the wake of the recent lynching of 50-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq in Bisara village near here over rumours of consuming cow meat.

Addressing an election rally in Bihar, Modi himself had referred to Mukherjee’s remarks and urged the people to follow the “guidance given by the President”.

Advani also wanted the prime minister to launch year-long commemoration of the Emergency beginning on June 25 next year and ending on June 25, 2017 the 40th anniversary of the end of Emergency.

The BJP veteran also wanted the history of the Emergency to be included in the curricula of schools and colleges and a memorial in New Delhi dedicated to the prisoners of the Emergency.

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