BJP, Cong in competitive 'fast' politics

BJP, Cong in competitive 'fast' politics

As the second leg of Parliament's Budget session ends in a washout, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday accused Opposition of indulging in divisive politics and announced that party MPs will observe a fast on April 12 to protest the impasse in Parliament.

A couple of hours later, Congress president Rahul Gandhi also asked partymen to organise fasts across the country on April 9 for protecting harmony in the country.

The BJP and Congress upped the ante soon after the Parliament was adjourned sine die with both sides holding demonstration in front of Gandhi Statue against the impasse. The BJP protest saw Union Ministers, including ally Ramvilas Paswan, joining the protest.

Modi's announcement on the fast came during his address in the BJP Parliamentary party meeting on the last day of Budget Session, where he accused the Congress of taking parliamentary proceedings "to a new low" with its conduct.

He wanted MPs and ministers to reach out to villages with substantial Dalit and tribal population through implementation of his government's seven key welfare schemes. He asked them to spend a night between April 14 and May 5 in over 20,844 villages with over 50% population of scheduled castes and tribes to inform the masses about the various measures taken by the government.

Congress is paralysing Parliament and "throttling" democracy and "abusing" people's mandate, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananthkumar quoted Modi as saying. During his speech, Modi also referred to the way Opposition MPs surrounded him during his reply to the Motion of Thanks on the President's Address, saying that was unprecedented.

Countering the BJP move, the Congress president instructed party workers to hold a day-long fast at all state and district headquarters on April 9 to expose the BJP's "lies" on various issues.

Sources said Congress has already raised pitch over the Budget session, requesting Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu not to prorogue the House so that it can be reconvened for two more weeks to discuss issues of national importance and pass Bills.

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