NEW DELHI/NAGPUR: With a sharp attack on the Modi government, Congress president Sonia Gandhi led the opposition today in a special discussion on the Constitution as Parliament convened for the winter session.
“There is a threat to the principles of the Constitution these days…What we have seen in the past few months, is total violation of the values of the constitution,” said Mrs Gandhi, whose party has indicated that its primary agenda in the session will be to attack the BJP-led government over what it calls “rising intolerance”.
“No matter how good the Constitution is, if the people who implement it are bad, then the Constitution will also turn out bad. And no matter how bad the Constitution is, if the people who implement it are good, it will turn out to be good,” said Mrs Gandhi, speaking in Hindi.
She reminded the house that the BR Ambedkar, to whom Parliament pays tribute with the special two-day discussion, was a Congressman. Dr Ambedkar is widely acknowledged as the principal architect of the Indian Constitution and this year is his 125th birth centenary.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who is the deputy leader of the Lok Sabha, began the discussion in the lower house.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will intervene in the discussion in both Houses. Before Parliament convened today the PM said, “Debate and dialogue are the soul of Parliament.” He has expressed hope that the opposition will allow Parliament to function this time, after several sessions that saw days of adjournments and little work.
A united opposition has made it clear that it first wants a discussion on intolerance to end with Parliament adopting a resolution.
The government, which is focused on pushing crucial legislation like the key reform measure the Goods and Services Tax bill , has said it is “ready to discuss all issues including that of the so-called intolerance though it falls in the domain of states.” But it is not expected to agree to a resolution.
“We have nothing to hide. We are ready for a debate on intolerance. The government has nothing to feel shy about it,” said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday.