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Modi to lead BJP fast against Parliament washout

Congress terms protest a ‘farce’, says prime minister should apologise over the way his party had ‘denigrated and disrespected’ Indian parliament

Gulf News

New Delhi: In an unusual action, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will observe a daylong fast on April 12 to protest against the washout of the second part of Parliament’s budget session due to continuous disruptions, which the BJP blamed on the Congress.

While BJP President Amit Shah will observe a hunger strike in Hubli in Karnataka, party MPs will fast in their constituencies.

“The Prime Minister will observe a fast even while engaged in his official duty and official engagements,” BJP spokesperson G.V.L. Narsimha Rao told IANS.

Modi’s decision, which may be the first time a Prime Minister is observing a fast, will be part of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s daylong hunger strike that day to protest against the disruption of Parliament by the opposition.

The opposition Congress termed the fast by the Prime Minister as a “farce” and said he should apologise over the way his party had “denigrated and disrespected” parliament.

“They have disrespected and denigrated the highest temple of democracy. So Prime Minister should publicly say that he is sorry that is why he is holding this fast on April 12 to tender this apology to various sections of India’s population,” Congress Communications in charge Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters.

Earlier on Monday, Congress President Rahul Gandhi led the party’s daylong fast at the Rajghat in Delhi over alleged increasing atrocities on Dalits, adivasis, and minorities and dubbed the Modi government as “anti-Dalit” while vowing to defeat the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The fast in Delhi was marked by controversies as 1984 anti-Sikh riots accused Congress leaders Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar were asked to leave the Rajghat before Rahul Gandhi’s arrival. Also, a picture showing some Delhi Congress leaders eating “chole bhature” at a restaurant before the protest — also held at district headquarters by party leaders across the country to promote harmony in society — went viral on social media.

The controversies gave the Bharatiya Janata Party an opportunity to attack the Congress, saying the main opposition party was a “danga master” (master of riots) and Tytler and Sajjan leaving the stage was its “acceptance of guilt”.

On the concluding day of the budget session, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar had blamed the Congress for the disruptions and announced that the ruling BJP MPs will sit on daylong fasts in their respective constituencies on April 12 to protest the washout of the second half of the budget session.

Protesting against the disruptions, the BJP had earlier announced that the National Democratic Alliance MPs would forego salaries along with allowances for 23 days due to the washout of the second half of the budget session.

The budget session of Parliament started on January 29 and went into a break on February 9. The two houses met for the second half of the session on March 5, which concluded on Friday.

While the first half of the session — January 31 to February 9 — recorded 134 per cent productivity in the Lok Sabha and 96 per cent in the Rajya Sabha, in the second-half, from March 5 to April 6, the lower house recorded just four per cent productivity and the upper house eight per cent.

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