Opposition parties led by Congress on Wednesday met President Pranab Mukherjee seeking his urgent intervention “to protect constitutional democracy and fundamental rights” of citizens. They discussed range of issues, including alleged tampering of EVMs and key bills being disguised as money bill in Parliament by the government. The delegation of leaders also presented a memorandum to him listing their various concerns and urged the President to ensure that constitutional democracy and fundamental rights of citizens are protected.
Talking to media after the meeting, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “An environment of fear and insecurity is prevailing in the country and voices of dissent are being muzzled passage of money bill in Parliament. Key bills are being disguised as money bill to bypass and undermine the constitutional position of Rajya Sabha.”
He also said that the recent allegations of EVM tampering during state polls have raised serious questions. Azad said the delegation drew the attention of the President to the recent political developments which have “seriously undermined the accepted norms of governance and institutional integrity”.
“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,” he said.
He 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, besides many others across the country.
Azad said the states ruled by non-BJP parties “are being destabilised by misusing the powers of Governors and artificial majority is cobbled up by unethical means” and recent examples of Goa and Manipur were cited in this regard.
Over the issue of EVM tampering, the Congress leader said the opposition parties have already met the Election Commission, which has promised to convene an all-party meeting on the issue. “There has been an attack on cultural, academic and historical institutions, universities, especially Nalanda University and the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library,” he said. “The continuous violence and failure of governance in Jammu and Kashmir is a matter of grave national concern,” he added.
Azad also added that all central agencies — the CBI, Income Tax and the Enforcement Directorate — are being used to harass leaders of political parties, particularly chief ministers. “There has never been such harassment of chief ministers and leaders of political parties,” he said.
Besides Manmohan and Sonia, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge and Anand Sharma were part of the delegation. The memorandum was also signed by Tariq Anwar (NCP), Satish Chandra Misra (BSP), Dharmendra Yadav and Neeraj Shekhar (SP), D Raja (CPI), Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), Sukhendu Sekhar Roy and Kalyan Banerjee (TMC), Sharad Yadav (JD-U), V Elangovan (DMK) and others.
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