The debate on the “rising intolerance” in the country has now entered the Parliament too. As Lok Sabha held its special discussion on the Constitution, commemorating 125th birth anniversary of Dr. BR Ambedkar, the principal opposition party took on the incumbent BJP-led NDA government on the issue of the intolerance. Launching criticism, Congress party president Sonia Gandhi alleged that ideals and principles of the Constitution were under threat and being attacked deliberately.
“Whatever is being witnessed in the past few months is totally against the principles of the Constitution,” she said referring to the incidents giving rise to the discourse on “intolerance”.
Several writers, multi-lingual authors, artists, film-makers and other eminent personalities have returned their awards and honours protesting against the incidents like Dadri lynching and murders of rationalist thinkers.
While speaking on the issue, Sonia Gandhi flayed the ruling BJP claiming, “People who never had faith in the Constitution, nor had they participated in its drafting, are now swearing by it and are laying claim to it”.
Persisting with her stated position on the debate, she highlighted that Dr. Ambedkar had observed that howsoever good a Constitution may be, if those implementing it were bad people, then the ultimate effect would only be bad. The Congress party chief also referred to the latter’s praise of the Congress for its contribution in the drafting of the Constitution.
“Dr. Ambedkar had said at that time ‘I was surprised when I was chosen as the chairman. There were more learned and better people than me in the Committee’. It was the discipline of the Congress party that enabled the Drafting Committee to give full information about every Act in the Constitution,” Sonia Gandhi added.
Underlining Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s legacy, she added further that Nehru was among the four stalwarts that guided the Drafting Committee. The others being Sardar Patel, Rajendra Prasad and Maulana Azad.
“The history of the Constitution is very old and linked to the country’s freedom struggle and that it why it is interlinked with the Congress,” Ms Gandhi said adding “it was under Nehru, the Congress in its Karachi session in March 1931, had brought a resolution on fundamental rights and economic rights”.
Earlier, initiating the debate in Lok Sabha, Union Home minister Rajnath Singh lauded Dr. Ambedkar saying that he had never thought of leaving the country despite being subjected to insult and discrimination.
“Despite facing insult and discrimination, he still presented an objective point of view on the constitution though he was hurt by the treatment. He never thought of leaving India for any other country,” Rajnath Singh said in what is being perceived as an apparent jibe at the Bollywood actor Aamir Khan, who courted a controversy on Tuesday over his remarks on the “intolerance”.
The 50-year-old Bollywood superstar had earlier this week said that he is “alarmed” by a number of incidents which has given rise to this very issue, adding that his wife even contemplated moving out of the country. He, however, clarified on Wednesday that “neither he nor his wife, Kiran Rao have any intention of leaving the country” even though he stood by his earlier opinion on “intolerance”.
(With inputs from the PTI)