Opposition parties vow to fight ‘crimes against minorities, women, Dalits, tribals’

Opposition parties also expressed 'grave concern' over 'humanitarian tragedy' that has 'destroyed' Manipur

Bengaluru: A group of 26 opposition parties on Tuesday demanded the implementation of the caste census while asserting that they have come together to defeat the “hatred and violence being manufactured against minorities” as well as “rising crimes against women, Dalits, tribals and Kashmiri Pandits”.

The opposition alliance that will take on the ruling NDA in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections will be called Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) and an 11-member committee will be set up for coordination, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge announced after a meeting of the parties here.

In their ‘Samuhik Sankalp (joint resolution)’ released after the meeting, the parties expressed their steadfast resolve to safeguard the idea of India as enshrined in the Constitution.

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“The character of our republic is being severely assaulted in a systematic manner by the BJP. We are at a most crucial juncture in our nation’s history. The foundational pillars of the Indian Constitution secular democracy, economic sovereignty, social justice and federalism are being methodically and menacingly undermined,” they alleged.

The opposition parties also expressed “grave concern” over the “humanitarian tragedy” that has “destroyed” Manipur.

The parties said they are determined to combat and confront the continuing assault on the Constitution and on constitutional rights of democratically elected state governments.

“There is a deliberate attempt to weaken the federal structure of our polity. The role of governors and LGs (lieutenant governor) in non-BJP ruled states has exceeded all constitutional norms,” the opposition parties said in the resolution.

They also alleged that the “brazen misuse” of agencies by the BJP government against political rivals is undermining democracy.

Legitimate needs, requirements and entitlements of non-BJP ruled states are being actively denied by the Centre, the parties claimed.

“We reinforce our resolve to confront the grave economic crisis of ever-rising prices of essential commodities and record unemployment. Demonetisation brought with it untold misery to the MSME and unorganised sectors, resulting in large scale unemployment among our youth. We oppose the reckless sale of the nation’s wealth to favoured friends,” the opposition parties said in their resolution.

“We must build a fair economy with a strong and strategic public sector as well as a competitive and flourishing private sector, in which the spirit of enterprise is fostered and given every opportunity to expand. The welfare of Kisan and Khet Mazdur should always get the highest priority,” the resolution said.

The silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is “shocking and unprecedented”, the opposition parties said, asserting that there is an urgent need to bring Manipur back on the path of peace and reconciliation.

“We have come together to defeat the hatred and violence being manufactured against minorities; stop the rising crimes against women, Dalits, adivasis and Kashmiri Pandits; demand a fair hearing for all socially, educationally and economically backward communities; and, as a first step, implement the caste census,” the parties said in their resolution passed “in one voice” at the meeting.

They resolved to fight what they claimed was a “systemic conspiracy” by the BJP to “target, persecute and suppress our fellow Indians”.

“Their poisonous campaign of hate has led to vicious violence against all those opposed to the ruling party and its divisive ideology. These attacks are not only violating constitutional rights and freedoms but also eroding the basic values upon which the Republic of India is founded – liberty, equality and fraternity and justice political, economic and social,” the resolution said.

“We pledge to present to the nation an alternative political, social and economic agenda. We promise to transform both the substance and style of governance that will be more consultative, democratic and participative,” it said.

Top opposition leaders, including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Kharge, chief ministers of West Bengal, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, and former chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra along with presidents and leaders of several parties attended the meeting.

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