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Constitution Day: Congress, TMC, AAP and DMK among Opposition to boycott President’s address

President Ram Nath Kovind will address the Constitution Day event in the Central Hall of Parliament Friday. But Congress and TMC among other Opposition parties will boycott the event.

Constitution Day: Congress, TMC, AAP and DMK among Opposition to boycott President's address-dnm
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New Delhi, First Published Nov 26, 2021, 11:22 AM IST
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New Delhi: The Indian National Congress and several other opposition parties setting the stage for a stormy Winter Session of Parliament from Monday, will not attend the Constitution Day event to be addressed by President Ram Nath Kovind in the Central Hall of Parliament on November 26. The joint move to boycott the event by the Opposition parties is to protest against the Centre’s “disrespect” towards them, “refusal” to listen to their demands and "hurried passage of Bills" through the House.

The coordinated move came even as the Congress decided to reach out to all like-minded parties to ensure Opposition unity in Parliament. Other Opposition parties, including RJD, DMK and the Left, are also expected to stay away from the event. The event has President Ram Nath Kovind with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several Union Ministers in attendance.

According to sources, the Opposition will seek discussions, while adjourning all business, on the rise in prices of essential commodities, demand the resignation of MoS Ajay Mishra, whose son has been arrested in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri deaths, and ask the Government to announce Rs 4 lakh each as financial assistance to the families of Covid victims.

Besides Mallikarjun Kharge and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the meeting was attended by senior leaders A K Antony, Anand Sharma, K C Venugopal, Jairam Ramesh, Gaurav Gogoi, Manickam Tagore and Kodikunnil Suresh.

On Constitution Day, there was consensus at the meeting that the party should boycott the event. Almost the entire Opposition had earlier this year boycotted the President’s address to the joint sitting of Parliament.

“We won’t participate. This government does not believe in democracy. They are hell bent on dismantling each and every institution of democratic India. Moreover, they have not invited Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge to be on the podium. The office of Leader of the Opposition is also an institution. This government does not respect that also,” Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said.

The Union Cabinet in May 2015 announced that November 26 will be observed as Constitution Day to promote “constitutional values amongst citizens”. This was the year that marked the 125th birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar, the Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution. Other members included Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel and Shayama Prasad Mukherjee, among others.

The Constituent Assembly, the body meant to draft the Constitution of India, held its first session on December 9, 1946, attended by 207 members, including nine women. The Drafting Committee chaired by Ambedkar was one among the over 17 committees of the Constituent Assembly. Their task was to prepare a Draft Constitution for India. Out of some 7,600 amendments tabled, this committee got rid of about 2,400 amendments while debating and deliberating the constitution.

The last session of the Constituent Assembly ended on November 26, 1949, when the Constitution was adopted, and two months later on January 26, 1950 it came into effect after 284 members signed it. January 26 was chosen since the Congress’ Poorna Swaraj resolution was declared on this day in the year 1930.

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