Democracy in danger; institutions being subverted: Yashwant Sinha
Guwahati, July 13 (IANS) The joint Opposition candidate for the Presidential election, Yashwant Sinha on Wednesday said the Indian democracy is in grave danger, and every institution of democratic governance is being subverted by the ruling party.
Sinha said that government agencies like the ED, CBI, income tax department and even the Governor's office are being weaponised to target opposition leaders, to engineer defections in opposition parties and to topple state governments.
"Never before did the Indian Republic face as many simultaneous threats to the Constitution," he said while addressing the meeting of Congress and other opposition MLAs and MPs in Guwahati.
Contrary to speculation that Badruddin Ajmal-led All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) may not support Sinha, the party leaders met him and assured their support to him in the Presidential polls.
The AIUDF has 15 MLAs in the 126-member Assam assembly and the party supremo (Ajmal) is the lone Lok Sabha member.
Sinha further said that the economy is mismanaged.
"The Indian rupee has suffered the steepest fall against the US dollar during the tenure of the current Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) from 58.44 in 2014 to 79.63 on Tuesday. The unprecedented price rise has badly hit the common people. Here is an example. The price of an LPG cylinder in 2014 was Rs 410. Today in Guwahati, it is Rs 1,129 - nearly 300 per cent increase. Record unemployment, especially in the northeast, has created a bleak future for our youth."
Sinha said that to win elections, the ruling party has embarked on an evil design to communally polarise India's multi-faith society.
"We have seen this in Assam, too. This will have perilous consequences not only for social peace, but also for the nation's unity and integrity. The ruling dispensation's agenda of one nation, one party, one ruler is meant to convert democratic India into an imitator of communist China. This must be stopped," he asserted.
Sinha said: "I have a great personal regard for Draupadi Murmu. However, I have repeatedly stressed that this election is not about persons and their identities, it is about ideologies. It is about their commitments to the Constitution."
"Should India have a silent Rashtrapati? Should India have a rubber-stamp Rashtrapati?" Sinha asked, and announced: "I shall serve as the impartial Custodian of the Constitution. I shall use my powers, without fear or favour, to restrain the government if it deviates from the principles of the Constitution."
He also said that Shiv Sena leader Udhhav Thackeray was forced to declare that they would support the NDA candidate.
Sinha said that as the common candidate of the combined opposition, he has so far visited Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Karnataka, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab.
"I regret that due to paucity of time, I am unable to visit other states in the northeast. The election for the President of India is taking place in highly troubled conditions," he added.