MUMBAI: Leaders, cutting across party lines, today held an “apolitical” meeting under the banner of Yashwant Sinha’s Rashtra Manch, calling for a united stand against the BJP to “save” democracy. Senior NCP leader Majid Memon said investigative agencies, the Election Commission and the judiciary were being prevented from performing their duties and the meeting was to save these institutions.
“We will go to each Lok Sabha constituency to tell people the truth about this government. We will do all we can to make sure they don’t come back to power again,” Memon said. His party colleague, Jitendra Awhad said that it was decided, in the meeting, to hold rallies in Mumbai, Kolhapur and Akola.
“While the date of the rally in Mumbai has not been finalised, the one at Akola and Kolhapur would be held on May 1 and May 7 respectively,” Awhad said.
“These rallies will be apolitical with the common intention of dethroning the Modi government. We will oppose the data leaks of Aadhaar card details and the government’s impositions on the media, judiciary and other agencies,” he said.
Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi, who also attended the meeting, alleged that the BJP was not allowing Parliament to function and in the process was “maligning democracy”.
Disgruntled BJP MLA Ashish Deshmukh said that the meeting deliberated on the growing distress of farmers and youth, adding that events like ‘Make in India’ and ‘Make in Maharashtra’ had failed.
Former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, Rajya Sabha member Kumar Ketkar, Sudheendra Kulkarni, Justice (retired) Abhay Tipsay, lawyer Abha Singh, journalist and writer Pritish Nandy, Tushar Gandhi and Priti Sharma Menon of the Aam Aadmi Party attended the meeting.
Yashwant Sinha has publicly criticised the Modi government’s economic policies and style of functioning.
Last year, in an opinion piece for The Indian Express, Sinha wrote, “I shall be failing in my national duty if I did not speak up even now against the mess the finance minister has made of the economy.” He had added that many within the BJP were aware of the situation but feared speaking up.”
In the no-holds-barred piece, Sinha had also said that demonetisation had proved to be an “unmitigated economic disaster” and that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was “badly conceived and poorly implemented”.
(with PTI inputs)