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18 parties boycott joint parliamentary session to commemorate Constitution Day

Congress president Sonia Gandhi leads a demonstration to protest BJP’s move to form the government in Maharashtra, in the Parliament House in New Delhi on November 26

Congress president Sonia Gandhi leads a demonstration to protest BJP’s move to form the government in Maharashtra, in the Parliament House in New Delhi on November 26   | Photo Credit: AFP

They stage a protest over Maharashtra in front of the Ambedkar statue inside the Parliament complex.

Opposition parties boycotted the joint parliamentary sitting to commemorate the Constitution Day on Tuesday. Instead they all congregated at the statue of BR Ambedkar in Parliament gardens to protest against the attempt by the BJP to form the government in Maharashtra by poaching NCP MLAs. 

A total of 18 parties participated in the event including Congress, Shiv Sena, Trinamool Congress, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi and Indian Union Muslim League among others. This is the first Opposition event attended by the Shiv Sena. 

Beginning with Congress president Sonia Gandhi reading out the Preamble of the Indian Constitution, representatives of all parties read out portions of the statute. Nearly 15 Congress MPs and 10 each from the Trinamool and the DMK read out from the Constitution. The readings were made in Bengali, Malayalam, Hindi and Urdu. 

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was among the MPs who read out portions from the Constitution. Congress Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor read out an extract from Ambedkar’s speech made on Nov 26, 1949 while presenting the draft Constitution to the Constituent Assembly.

Also read: Protect Constitution’s spirit, says Pinarayi Vijayan

While select MPs read out from the Constitution, the others stood holding placards all around the statue. 

Ms. Gandhi oversaw the protest flanked by Dr. Singh, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, CPI(M)’s T.K. Rangarajan and DMK’s T.R. Baalu. 

 While most of the leaders took turns at holding the black banner “Stop murder of democracy” Ms. Gandhi stood holding it from 10.30 a.m. till 12.10 p.m. when the protest ended. 

In a silent protest, no slogans were raised and no speeches were delivered.

The notable absentees included Bahujan Samaj Party, Telugu Desam Party and Aam Aadmi Party. AAP did boycott joint the parliamentary meeting but didn’t attend the Opposition event. 

Telangana Rashtriya Samithi, Biju Janata Dal and YSR Congress were other Opposition parties who attended the joint session. These three parties usually stay away from all Opposition events choosing instead to take the middle path.

“The joint parliamentary meet was to commemorate the father of the Indian Constitution, B.R. Ambedkar. For the BSP which carries forward the legacy of Ambedkar, to boycott the event would have been utterly wrong,” BSP Lok Sabha floor leader Danish Ali told The Hindu. Sources, however added that BSP chief Mayawati is unhappy with the Congress, for poaching BSP’s six legislators in Rajasthan. 

In an aside, TMC’s MP Nusrat Jehan due to a misscommunication ended up attending the joint session, while the BJP’s Malda MP Khagen Murmu strayed into the Opposition protest and beat a hasty retreat soon after. 

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 7:07:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/opposition-parties-including-sena-boycott-parliament-joint-session/article30085265.ece

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