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Rediff.com  » News » BJP leaders observe day-long fast to protest Parliament washout

BJP leaders observe day-long fast to protest Parliament washout

Last updated on: April 12, 2018 19:12 IST

IMAGE: BJP president Amit Shah with party leaders B S Yeddyurappa, Jagadish Shettar and others during a day-long fast to protest against the disruption of parliament proceedings by the Opposition, in Dharwad, Karnataka on Thursday. Photograph: PTI Photo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who observed a fast along with fellow Bharatiya Janata Party MPs to protest the washout of the second leg of the budget session of Parliament, on Thursday travelled to Tamil Nadu to participate in several events.

On Tuesday, sources had said that while Modi would observe fast to protest Parliament disruptions by opposition parties, he would not disturb his official schedule, which included a visit to Tamil Nadu, meeting officials and clearing policy-related files.

The prime minister left Delhi around 8.30 am and inaugurated the Defence Expo at Thiruvidanthai in Tamil Nadu.

 

He later travelled to Chennai to inaugurate a hospital's extension building.

He returned to the national capital around 5.30 pm.

Most BJP MPs are holding fast in their respective constituencies.

BJP chief Amit Shah was in poll-bound Karnataka where he staged a sit-in.

Shah accused the Congress of dividing the nation and the society as he staged a sit-in at Hubballi near Dharwad to protest the recent washout of the budget session.

Shah, on the sixth round of his campaigning in poll-bound Karnataka, was joined by BJP's chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa, MPs Prahlad Joshi and Rajeev Chandrasekhar, former chief minister Jagadish Shettar and other senior party functionaries.

IMAGE: BJP MP Hema Malini along with Uttar Pradesh Power Minister Srikant Sharma observes fast in Mathura. Photograph: PTI Photo

Terming Parliament as the 'temple of democracy' and 'biggest panchayat in democracy', he alleged that because of the stand taken by the Congress and its president Rahul Gandhi, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha could not function.

Launching a scathing attack on the Congress, he said the logjam in Parliament for 22 days led to a loss of Rs 250 crore.

Usually the government runs away from a debate, but here the opposition was unwilling to discuss important issues, he said.

The BJP chief said the government was ready for a discussion but the Opposition ran away from it, because 'the Congress did not have the guts to discuss (issues)'.

"We said we are ready to discuss the (Punjab National Bank) scam as none of our leaders or ministers was involved in it," he said.

"If the list of your (Congress) leaders involved in scams was to be brought out, the Congress would be empty," Shah said.

He said while running away from discussion, the Congress later got notices of no-confidence motion through smaller parties.

"We said we are ready to even discuss the no-confidence motion (if it was brought), because their no-confidence could not have done anything as the people of this country have confidence in Narendra Modi," he said.

Alleging that the Congress did not believe in democracy, Shah said, "Rahul baba is going around everywhere speaking about democracy. It looks like some NGO has handed over to him the word democracy."

IMAGE: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal raises slogan with BJP leaders during their day-long fast at collectors office in Thane. Photograph: PTI Photo

"Rahul baba, go through your party's history," he said, recalling the Emergency under 'his grandmother Indira Gandhi'.

"You come and preach us about democracy, while you had kept democracy imprisoned inside your home," he said, as he launched a sharp attack on the Congress.

"Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi...., (after that) we don't know which Gandhi next. Doesn't anyone else have credibility in this country," he said.

Shah alleged that there was no internal democracy in the Congress party.

"The Congress cannot protect democracy in this country," he said.

Accusing the Congress of toppling other governments through 'conspiracy' whenever it was out of power, he said by hiring a foreign company, 'some people had obtained data on castes'.

There were protests in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana, Andhra, also in Karnataka, he said.

He was apparently referring to the violence during the protests in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's recent ruling on the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Conspiracies were being hatched to divide the society along caste and religious lines, he said.

"The Congress by dividing the society and the country on the basis of caste is trying to play its politics," Shah said.

"I want to tell Rahul Gandhi this is not the era of 70s-80s. You have lost your way, this is not 70s or 8os, you have come to 44 (seats in the Lok Sabha), if you continue like this the strength would plummet further," he said.

Asserting that the people clearly understood the Congress and its tactics, Shah listed out the states where BJP has gained after the 2014 parliamentary election win.

"It is Karnataka's turn now. The people of the state have made up their mind to form a BJP government under the leadership of Yeddyurappa (in the May 12 polls)," he said.

Shah told Gandhi that the kind of politics which attempts to divide the society, shut the voice of democracy, and not allow the Houses to function, would not continue for long.

"You may be thinking where will the BJP speak by not allowing the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha to function. We have come directly to the people as in democracy the people are supreme. We have come to the people's court," he said.

IMAGE: Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad with other BJP leaders sits on a day-long hunger strike in Patna. Photograph: PTI Photo

Stating that the people would teach a lesson to the Congress for following the "politics of divisiveness" by "slitting the throat of democracy," Shah said the first opportunity for it would come in Karnataka.

In Mumbai, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also observed fast along with other BJP MPs and MLAs, and hit out at the Opposition saying it does not have any alternative to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Fadnavis, along with Lok Sabha members Poonam Mahajan (North Central Mumbai) and Paresh Rawal (Gujarat), local MLAs Parag Alavani, Amit Satam and Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar sat on the day-long fast at the party office in suburban Vile Parle.

The chief minister said, "People know contradictions of the opposition parties. They can't stay together. What is the alternative to Modi in terms of policies, programmes and leadership? The opposition only wants power...(but) they don't have an alternative to Modi."

He said the Congress has no moral strength to face Parliament because when the Prime Minister counters it. "They have no face to show."

He also alleged that most of the atrocities on Dalits took place during the Congress rule.

"The Dalit and tribal entrepreneurship is being encouraged by the Modi government," he pointed out.

Fadnavis said PM Modi is dedicated to the welfare of the people and the country.

"Public hai, public sab jaanti hai (this is the public, it knows everything," Fadnavis said.

Lashing out at the Congress, he said, "People have seen you and tolerated you."

"Until the Congress learns to respect and preserve democracy, don't send their members to Parliament," he appealed to people.

Fadnavis, while leaving the venue, said he was going to Nanded on official work.

"Don't worry, I will not have 'chole bhature'," he said in a dig at the Congress over its leaders 'seen having food' before their fast on Monday.

"Our struggle to preserve the democratic values will continue," Fadnavis said.

A street play was performed in front of him, highlighting the government's achievements, like demonetisation, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the Jalyukt Shivar campaign (aimed at improving irrigation facilities in Maharashtra) and other welfare programmes for farmers.

On the occasion, Rawal said the Congress did not allow Parliament to function as it does not have any issue to raise.

"We decided to forgo our salaries as the Congress did not allow Parliament to function. But, the Congress members have taken their salaries," he claimed.

Rawal mocked the Congress' fast on Monday as 'farce' over some of its leaders 'seen having food' before the protest.

Shelar accused the Congress of 'wasting Rs 430 crore of the taxpayers' by disrupting Parliament session.

Kirit Somaiya, the BJP MP from North East Mumbai, sat on the protest near the Bhandup railway station.

He said, "Today around 350 Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members of the BJP are observing the fast against the Congress' unruly behaviour in Parliament because of which the proceedings of Parliament were washed out."

"The Congress and other opposition parties did not allow Parliament to function for 23 days, and 17 important Bills were passed without debate. We wanted to discuss about the alleged bank scams of Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, the non-performing assets (NPAs) of Rs 52 lakh crore, among other important issues," he said.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal observed the fast in Thane city.

He alleged that the Congress had 'disgraced the Constitution' framed by Dr B R Ambedkar.

"Ambedkar's hard and noble work has been disgraced by the Congress by not allowing Parliament to function," he further said.

"Not only the BJP leaders and workers, but I think people across the country are appalled by the opposition parties, specially the Congress," Goyal said.

The social media cell of the BJP also ran a campaign called #FastWithPMModi.

'When the Nation wants us to talk, Congress takes our Democracy for a walk. We stand together with our Hon'ble PM Shri @narendramodi ji to remind them of the duties of the opposition! Join us today at District BJP Office in Vile Parle,' Mahajan tweeted.

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