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PM to lead BJP's day-long fast; Congress terms it 'photo-op'

April 11, 2018 22:58 IST


Prime Minister Narendra Modi will observe a day-long fast on Thursday in New Delhi, while top BJP leaders, including Union ministers, will fan out across the country for a similar protest to corner the opposition over the recent washout of the budget session of Parliament.

Addressing party MPs through an audio conference call ahead of the protest, Modi said the BJP leaders and its workers will observe the fast tomorrow to "expose" those handful of people who "throttled" democracy by stalling Parliament proceedings during the budget session.


Besides Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu will observe the fast in New Delhi.

As per the schedule prepared by the BJP for observing the fast across the country, Union Health Minister J P Nadda will be in Modi's constituency Varanasi, while Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will travel to Patna for it, party sources said.

Many other ministers will travel to various places across the country to observe the fast. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will observe the fast in Chennai, Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javdekar in Benguluru, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel in Tamil Nadu and Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar in Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh.

Tourism Minister KJ Alphons will observe the fast in Kerala.

Besides ministers, all the party MPs will also sit on a fast in their respective constituencies, while BJP chief Amit Shah will hold a sit-in at Hubli in poll-bound Karnataka tomorrow.

The ruling BJP has blamed the opposition, led by the Congress party, for the washout of the budget session. The session was the worst in terms of productivity in about a decade.

Last week, while speaking at the BJP's parliamentary party meeting, Modi had accused the Opposition, particularly the Congress, of practising divisive politics and stalling Parliament. PTI

Meanwhile, the Congress has dismissed Modi's proposed hunger strike as a "photo-op".

Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said the proposed fast by the BJP MPs led by the prime minister tomorrow was a "drama", adding that time has come for the PM to take 'sanyas' (retirement).

"It is only a photo opportunity. The BJP did not allow the parliament, the country's temple of democracy, to function when they were in the opposition and neither are they allowing it to function now when they are in power.

"Prime Minister ji, it is not the time to observe fast, in view of your failures... it is time to take retirement instead. If you do not wake up now, you should understand that the time of your retirement will come in 2019 when people will vote you out," he said.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu also questioned Modi's decision to observe a fast protesting washout of recent Parliament session, alleging it was the Centre which ensured
the disruption by provoking All India Anna Dravida MUnnetra Kazhagam over the Cauvery issue.

Referring to day-long fast by Modi along with BJP MPs, he claimed the Centre did not constitute the Cauvery Management Board because of coming elections in Karnataka.

"They provoked the AIADMK and ensured" that the MPs of the ruling party in Tamil Nadu stormed the well of the Lok Sabha and thereby did not allow TDP to raise its demand (for grant of special category status to Andhra Pradesh), he said.

"How atrocious? And now he (prime minister) says he will observe protest...seeking to portray the opposition as wrong and he is right. Is it correct? Is it justified," the chief minister questioned.

Naidu, whose party recently snapped ties with the National Democratic Alliance was addressing a meeting in connection with the birth anniversary celebrations of social activist Jyotirao Phule.

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