Opp meets Prez over stifling of dissent

Opp meets Prez over stifling of dissent

Accusing the government of muzzling dissenting voices, a group of 13 parties led by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked President Pranab Mukherjee for “urgent intervention.”

In a five-page memorandum handed to the President, the leaders cited increasing cow vigilantism, reports of EVM tampering, inflammatory narrative of nationalism and using brute majority in the Lok Sabha to scuttle Parliamentary debate and scrutiny of debates.

“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,” Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters.

Congress’ Rahul Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge and M Veerappa Moily; CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury; JD(U)’s Sharad Yadav; BSP’s Satish Mishra; SP’s Neeraj Shekhar; NCP’s Tariq Anwar; CPI’s D Raja were also part of the delegation, which also comprised  representatives from the Trinamool Congress, the DMK and the 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,” the parties said.

The delegation also highlighted the alleged tampering and malfunctioning of the EVMs that raised “bonafide concerns on the possibility of manipulating electoral outcomes.”

I&B Minister M Venkaiah Naidu dismissed the opposition’s  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 the recent lynching of a dairy farmer in Rajasthan’s Alwar district and similar incidents in Una (Gujarat), Dadri (Uttar Pradesh) and Udhampur (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.

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