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Bharat bandh: Modi govt has crossed the limit, says Manmohan Singh

The veteran Congress leader Manmohan Singh also urged opposition parties to shed their differences and unite to save democracy in the country.

india Updated: Sep 10, 2018 14:47 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Bharat Bandh,Modi government,Manmohan Singh
Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and others during 'Bharat Bandh' protest against fuel price hike and depreciation of the rupee, in New Delhi.(AP Photo)

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Monday urged all opposition parties to shed their differences and move to save sovereignty and democracy in the country as he attacked the Narendra Modi-led government for “crossing the limit”.

“Circumstances show that the situation has gone beyond control now. Farmers, businessmen, youth are facing crises in their respective fields. The government has failed miserably in fulfilling the promises made to common people,” he said.

Singh was speaking during a protest rally at the Ramlila ground in New Delhi against rising fuel prices organised by the Congress and joined by various opposition parties. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi was also present at the rally but did not speak.

“The Modi government has done a lot which is not in the national interest. Now, it has crossed the limit and time is coming to change it,” he said.

The former prime minister appreciated the presence of around 20 opposition parties as they joined the Congress in the protest against the government. He said it was a significant moment ahead of the general elections scheduled to be held next year and that “we should take advantage of this (unity) and bring about a movement” in the country.

“The parties opposing the present government should forget their differences ... It is possible only when you keep aside your own small issues and be ready to save the unity, sovereignty and democracy in the country,” he said.

Singh along with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi joined the protest march that started from Rajghat and culminated at Ramlila ground. The march was a part of a nationwide Bharat Bandh led by Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

Leaders of various opposition parties led by Congress president Rahul Gandhi started the country-wide protest against rising fuel prices from Rajghat as part of the ‘Bharat Bandh’ call given by the party. He reached Rajghat soon after his return from Kailash Mansarovar and paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi. The Bharat bandh began after Gandhi offered holy water from the pilgrimage.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party said the Bharat Bandh call by the opposition was an attempt to spread rumour and confusion among peoples. Union minister and BJP Janata Party leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the Congress party has been a “history-sheeter” on the issue of price rise whenever it was in power and is now shedding crocodile tears.

“’Bharat’ will not be ‘bandh’, it will keep moving and progressing. No one is paying heed to this call by the Congress. Their ‘Mahagatbandhan’ balloon will also burst soon,” Naqvi was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Congress on Sunday claimed the support of 21 political parties and a number of chambers of commerce and traders’ associations for the bandh against the BJP government’s failure to take action to reduce the prices of petrol and diesel and reduce hardships to the common man.

A host of major opposition parties — the Left, Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal and DMK — have supported the bandh. The Left parties — the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)-Liberation, RSP and Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUC) — have given a separate call for bandh on the same day over the hike in fuel prices, the problem of farmers and unemployment issues.

The Congress has demanded that petrol and diesel should be brought under GST, by which oil prices could drop by about Rs 15 to Rs 18. Petrol and diesel prices set new records Sunday when petrol price was raised by 12 paise a litre and diesel by 10 paise per litre.

First Published: Sep 10, 2018 12:01 IST