19 Indian opposition parties issue joint statement against central government mismanagement – JURIST

Leaders of 19 opposition parties in India participated in a online meeting Friday to address allegations of mismanagement by the central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The virtual meeting, which was streamed live, was called by Indian National Congress (INC) President Sonia Gandhi and two senior opposition leaders from across the country.

In addition to INC members, representatives of 18 opposition parties were present at the meeting. Chief ministers from four states attended, including Mamata Banerjee from West Bengal, MP Stalin from Tamil Nadu, Uddhav Thackeray from Maharashtra and Hemant Soren from Jharkhand.

Congresswoman Sonia Gandhi in her opening statement points out:

The recent monsoon session of Parliament was once again completely bungled due to the government‘s stubborn and arrogant reluctance to discuss and debate pressing issues of public importance. These include the Pegasus spy scandal that affects every citizen…and the ongoing assault on federalism and the institutions of our democracy.

Following the meeting, the opposition parties published a joint statement in which they said they would work together to stage protests across the country from September 20-30.

The opposition further condemned the manner in which the central government led by the Bhartiya Janata Festival disrupted the monsoon session of parliament, refusing to address allegations related to the Pegasus spyware and the government’s involvement in it. They collectively blamed the ruling party for the massive mismanagement of the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the administration of vaccines, which has led to several hardships for the people.

In light of these reasons, they have come up with a list of 11 demands from the central government of India. This included increasing vaccine administration in India; the establishment of free cash transfers and the distribution of free food kits to the needy; the holding of an immediate and supervised judicial investigation by the Supreme Court into the use of the Pegasus spyware; release of all political prisoners incarcerated under the draconian regime Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 (UAPA); and the release of all political prisoners in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Providing details of the aforementioned protests, the opposition said:

The forms of these public protest actions will be decided by the respective state units of our parties according to the concrete conditions of the existing Covid regulations and protocols in the state. These forms, among others, can include dharnas, protest demonstrations, hartals, etc.

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