Opposition boycott Constitution Day function

Sonia Gandhi led the protesters in taking a pledge to uphold the Constitution. She read out the Preamble and resolved to stand by the fundamental values of the Constitution. (Twitter Image/@INCIndia)

Key opposition parties on Tuesday boycotted the 70th Constitution Day celebrations in Parliament accusing the Modi government of “murdering democracy” by installing a BJP government in Maharashtra by stealth.

As President Ram Nath Kovind extolled the virtues of the Constitution, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and hundreds of opposition lawmakers from the Congress, Trinamool, DMK, Shiv Sena, Left parties, NCP, RJD, National Conference, AIMIM staged protests near the statue of Babasaheb Ambedkar in Parliament premises.

Opposition leaders read extracts from the Constitution as the Presidential cavalcade passed by a few meters away ferrying Kovind for the Constitution Day function in the Central Hall of Parliament.

“Well, I think the proof of the pudding is in the eating,” former prime minister Singh told reporters when asked to comment on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's comments hailing the Constitution.

Opposition parties have been targetting the Modi government accusing it of undermining the Constitution by installing BJP governments in states where the party lacked majority. Opposition parties have cited the examples of Manipur, Goa and Maharashtra where BJP formed the government with help from friendly Governors.

“It is not a disservice to the Constitution. It is a reminder to everyone that the constitutional norms are being violated by the present establishment,” Singh said when pointed out that the government has criticised the opposition for its boycott of the Constitution Day function.

The opposition parties had questioned the role of President Kovind for revoking the President's Rule in the “dead of the night” and Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Kohisyari for administering the oath of chief minister to Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar in a hush-hush manner at the Raj Bhawan.

Gandhi led the protesters in taking a pledge to uphold the Constitution even as she read out the Preamble of the Constitution and resolved to stand by its fundamental values.

Among the leaders who joined the protests were DMK's T R Baalu, Shiv Sena's Arvind Sawant, Gajanan Kiritikar and Anil Desai, TMC's Saugata Roy, Derek O'Brien, Mahua Moitra among others, NCP's Majeed Memon, RJD's Manoj Jha, IUML's P K Kunhalikutty.

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