President’s speech, a laundry list of wrong laws: Opposition

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 31, 2020

Fourteen Opposition parties protested wearing black arm bands when President Ram Nath Kovind addressed a joint sitting of both the Houses of Parliament on the first day of the Budget session. The Opposition members criticised a reference hailing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in the President’s speech and termed it unfortunate.

The Opposition will move amendments demanding deletion of the reference in both the Houses to the motion to be moved by the Centre thanking the President for his speech. The Opposition leaders also did not sit on the designated seats on the front row as a mark of protest. They said the speech did not even have platitudes, and it was “a laundry list of wrong laws”.

Opposition leaders told reporters that many of the legislations, which have been claimed as achievements of the Centre in the speech, are divisive, and have created deep fault lines in the country. Opposition leader in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said what is happening in India militates against what Mahatma Gandhi and Guru Nanak stood for and their teachings. “The Government is arrogant and the Government is also lacking in compassion, the kind of violence that has been engineered, triggered and the kind of language that the Ministers and the senior leaders of the BJP are using. Therefore, when we have questioned the constitutional morality of some of the steps taken by the Government which we have said are discriminatory and divisive. These should not have found any reference in the President‘s address,” said Congress’s deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma.

“It is a State-sponsored violence as government has done nothing to prevent it,” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said. “The society is dangerously inching towards a civil war-like situation and the government is solely responsible for it. The government’s agenda is to divide the people to consolidate its own Hindutva motive,” Yechury added.

Earlier, Opposition leaders including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and TR Baalu, protested in front of the Gandhi statue in Parliament House against the attacks on students and protesters.

Published on January 31, 2020

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