Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union ministers and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders will observe a day-long fast across the country on Thursday to protest against the washout of the second part of the Budget session of Parliament, for which the government blames the Opposition.
On Wednesday evening, the PM addressed his party’s members of Parliament through audio conference and said the fast would expose those who had “throttled” democracy by stalling parliamentary proceedings.
Opposition parties, however, have called the fast a charade. Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the PM was indulging in photo opportunities when he should answer the country on failing to deliver on his promise of 20 million jobs a year, and the damage inflicted by the hurried implementation of the goods and services tax (GST).
Congress President Rahul Gandhi tweeted that he hoped the PM would observe a fast on the Unnao incident. In Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, a 50-year-old man, whose daughter had accused a BJP MLA of rape, died in custody earlier this week. “The barbarism inflicted on a father seeking justice for his daughter in Uttar Pradesh has shamed humanity. Hope the prime minister will soon observe a fast over atrocities against women, failed law and order, and increasing anarchy under the BJP’s watch,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said it was not the Opposition but the BJP that ensured disruptions in Parliament by provoking the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIAADMK) over the Cauvery issue.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati said the Modi government and the BJP’s plans to celebrate the birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar on Saturday smacked of hypocrisy, particularly after the indiscriminate arrests of Dalits who participated in the April 2 all-India strike.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu will observe the fast in New Delhi. Health Minister J P Nadda will be in Modi's constituency Varanasi, while Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will travel to Patna for it.
Murmurs of discontent continued in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance. Union ministers and the chief of the BJP ally Rashtriya Loktantrik Samata Party (RLSP), Upendra Kushwaha said those who had stopped his car in Vaishali district during the Bharat Bandh on April 10 were a section of the upper-caste people opposed to reservation.