Congress party President Sonia Gandhi called upon President Pranab Mukherjee Monday evening. Though the reason for her one-on-one meeting with the first citizen is yet to be officially known, the principal opposition party in its press conference earlier in the day said that Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi will be on Tuesday leading a delegation to President Pranab Mukherjee on the issue of what they claimed as “rising intolerance” in the country.
“Prime Minister has chosen not to respond to concerns of people belonging to cross-sections of society who do not belong to any political party,” senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said on Monday afternoon while addressing a press at the party headquarters in New Delhi.
“He should act. As Prime Minister of India, he should not be thinking or acting like a BJP leader or a RSS pracharak. He should fulfil his constitutional and moral duty as India’s Prime Minister”, Sharma, also the Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Upper House said.
Earlier on Sunday, expressing her concern over “rising intolerance”, Sonia Gandhi claimed that Congress party has vowed to fight the “diabolical design” of divisive forces to spread hatred, which posed a threat to the unity of the country.
“Organisations and people of a particular ideology are spreading it to divide people. We are under no illusion that it is an accident. The hate, violence and petty mindedness is being unleashed as part of a pre-determined plan. We will not allow such a diabolical design to succeed…It will shake country’s foundations… We are ready to fight the battle,” Mrs. Gandhi had said.
In the last one month alone, President Pranab Mukherjee had on a number of occasions spoken against growing intolerance. In his recent remark in New Delhi, President Mukherjee had called for preserving the multiplicity and pluralistic character of the country.
“Multiplicity is our collective strength which must be preserved at all costs. It finds reflection in the various provisions of our Constitution,” the President of the Union had said addressing the gathering which was attended by Chief Justice of India HL Dattu, Chief Justice of Delhi High Court G Rohini, Lt Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Even Vice President Md. Hamid Ansari strongly supported the right to dissent in a pluralistic country like India. Speaking at the first Ram Manohar Lohia Memorial National Lecture in Gwalior last month, VP Hamid Ansari had said, “In a democratic society, including ours, the need to accept difference of opinion is an essential ingredient of plurality”.
Several writers, artists and multi-lingual authors had even returned their awards and honours protesting against “rising intolerance” in the country. Top scientist Dr. PM Bhargava had even returned his Padma Bhushan honour last week.