Opposition wants debate on intolerance in Parliament

  • Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 16, 2015 00:11 IST
Congress had earlier led a march against rising intolerance. (HT File Photo)

All the Opposition parties in Parliament want a debate on the “growing intolerance” in the country, but they may come up with diverse plans as far as disrupting the House in the upcoming winter session is concerned.

The Congress and the Left are clear about their demands. More than Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking against intolerance, they want to see him take action against hate-mongers. “Last year, he expressed regret over Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti’s remarks in Rajya Sabha. But nothing seems to have changed even now,” said a senior Congress strategist.

On Sunday, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi took a fresh dig at Modi. “Our PM goes to England and claims ‘we are very tolerant’. But he doesn’t say the same thing in Indian Parliament,” he said.

CPI(M) chief Sitaram Yechury, who has already submitted a notice for debate on the issue, told HT, “We want the PM’s clear assurance that his government will take action, in accordance with the law, against those from his party and government who are involved in hate speeches.”

However, Opposition parties such as the Trinamool Congress and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) are treading a different line despite being in favour of debates on intolerance. “We believe Parliament is best used to debate, deliberate and legislate — one must agitate only in rare cases,” said Trinamool’s Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien.

He, however, stopped short of saying that Trinamool wouldn’t join the agitations planned by the Congress, JD(U), DMK and Left parties. “The tactics will be worked out when the session begins,” O’Brien said.

The BJD is also yet to decide on its plan of action. “The first two days has been dedicated to commemorate the making of the Indian constitution. The issue of intolerance or people’s basic rights can be discussed in those two days itself, in the realms of the Constitution and fundamental rights,” said BJD’s Lok Sabha leader Bhartruhari Mahtab.

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