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Opposition protests to 'save soul' of Constitution

Last updated on: November 26, 2019 16:35 IST

Opposition parties, including the Congress and the Shiv Sena, skipped a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament on Constitution Day on Tuesday to mark their protest against the Bharatiya Janata Party's alleged high-handedness in Maharashtra.

IMAGE: Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi leads a protest in Parliament premises. Photograph: ANI/Twitter

Upset over political developments in the state, the opposition parties, including the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Samajwadi Party, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Left parties, boycotted Constitution Day celebrations in the Central Hall of Parliament and held a joint protest in front of the Ambedkar statue inside Parliament complex.

In a first, the Shiv Sena supported the Congress in the protest.

 

The protest was led by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and party leader Rahul Gandhi.

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.

Among the leaders who joined in were DMK's T R Baalu, Shiv Sena's Arvind Sawant, Trinamool Congress's Saugata Roy and NCP's Majeed Memon.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Indian Union Muslim League also participated in the protests.

"Bullies' & 'Blackmailer' acting as unbridled rulers can't subjugate Constitutional ethos," Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said on Twitter.

WATCH: Sonia Gandhi reads out the Preamble of the Constitution in Parliament premises

"We the people observe #ConstitutionDay every 26th November... Let's resolve today - the soul of Constitution shall not be mortgaged to an autocratic govt blinded by insatiable lust for power," he added.

Rahul Gandhi and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also spoke their mind on the occasion.

Congratulating all Indians on Constitution Day, Rahul Gandhi echoed Sonia Gandhi in saying he resolved to save the fundamental values of the Constitution.

"We salute the contributions made by the members of our Constituent assembly. We are proud of our Constitution," Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.

Priyanka Gandhi also took to Twitter to say that people in power today are trying to disregard the values of the Constitution and weaken the people's strength in democracy by expanding the role of money power.

"To face this money and muscle power, it is important not only to bow our heads before our Constitution, but also pledge to stand by every value the Constitution enshrines. Jai Constitution, Jai Hind," Priyanka Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.

IMAGE: Sena's Arvind Sawant at the protest. In a first, the Congress was supported by the Shiv Sena in the protest. Photograph: ANI/Twitter

Proof of pudding is in eating: Manmohan's dig at PM Modi hailing Constitution

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh took a dig at his successor Narendra Modi for his remarks hailing the Constitution, saying "the proof of the pudding is in the eating" and the way the Centre has behaved in Maharashtra it is not certain that constitutional norms are safe.

Singh also said that the Supreme Court order directing a floor test in Maharashtra assembly on Wednesday "has to be respected".

He made the remarks to reporters at a joint opposition protest in front of the Ambedkar statue inside Parliament complex against the BJP's alleged high-handedness in Maharashtra.

Asked about Prime Minister Modi hailing the Constitution, Singh said, "Well I think the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The way the central government has behaved in Maharashtra, it is not certain that constitutional norms are safe in the hands of present establishment."

In his address to a joint sitting of Parliament to mark the Constitution Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the Indian Constitution is a sacred text "for us".

"It is a book that encompasses our life, our society, our traditions and beliefs and also solutions to new challenges," Modi said.

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