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Special State Assembly Sessions Mark Constitution Day, Opposition Flags 'Threat'

Replicating the joint sitting of Parliament to mark Constitution Day, assemblies in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Haryana and Punjab held special sittings.

PTI

Updated:November 26, 2019, 8:24 PM IST
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Constitution of India (Image: News18.com/ Sarthak Dogra)

New Delhi/Lucknow: State assemblies on Tuesday held special sessions and political leaders hailed B R Ambedkar on the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution, amid opposition claims that it is now under threat.

Replicating the joint sitting of Parliament to mark Constitution Day, assemblies in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Haryana and Punjab held special sittings.

As in Delhi, the Congress in the state capitals termed the developments in Maharashtra a blow to the Constitution, referring to the early-morning swearing in of Devendra Fadnavis as chief minister on Saturday.

West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, who has been at loggerheads with the Trinamool Congress government, hit out at it saying the post of the constitutional head of the state has been "seriously compromised".

This is an unprecedented and challenging situation. I would call upon the lawmakers to ask their conscience," he said.

In Uttar Pradesh, the opposition Congress boycotted the special sitting, accusing the BJP of killing the Constitution in Maharashtra.

On the sidelines of an event to mark the day, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot too referred to the Maharashtra swearing-in, calling it murder in the dead of the night.

The entire country is watching how the Constitution was blown to smithereens two days ago, he said.

But later in the day, when Fadnavis stepped down as Maharashtra chief minister, Gehlot said the latest development will definitely restore people's faith in constitutional principles".

In Haryana, there was a sharp exchange of words when Congress MLA Kiran Choudhary brought up Maharashtra.

It is a sad travesty when constitutional heads bend backwards to please their political masters and thus subvert the Constitution, she said. The issue figured in the Punjab House as well.

The Constitution, drafted by a committee headed by Bhimrao Ambedkar, was adopted this day in 1949. It came into force on January 26, 1950.

Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan said the Constitution gives protection every citizen, and praised Ambedkar for doing an excellent job.

Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel termed the nullification of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir historic, saying the move was in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution.

She addressed a joint sitting of both Houses of the state legislature.

"Abrogation of Article 370 provisions and Article 35A in Jammu and Kashmir is historic and according to the pledge in Preamble of the Constitution," she said.

Now same laws will be applicable in the entire country. The dream of 'Ek desh ek vidhan, ek nishan' (one country, one law, on flag) has been fulfilled," the governor said, referring to the abrogation of the state's special status.

The opposition Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party were present during the governor's address.

But SP members also staged a Save Constitution sit-in in front of the statue of former prime minister Charan Singh.

"The BJP is not following the Constitution and is working against it. The entire country is seeing its deeds," SP MLC Rajpal Kashyap said.

Congress members protested inside the Uttar Pradesh Assembly premises before the special session, boycotted by them, began.

"While the BJP is lauding the Constitution inside the House, it is killing the same in Maharashtra. We stand by the Constitution but protest its misuse," Congress legislative party leader Aradhana Shukla Mona told PTI.

BSP leader Mayawati asked the Centre and the state government to work in complete honesty and in accordance with the Constitution.

"Simply chanting the name of the architect of the Constitution, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar, on Constitution day will not work as this trick has been played by the Congress also, the former chief minister tweeted.

In Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal indirectly referred to problems his Aam Aadmi Party has faced with the BJP government at the Centre.

"Delhi government has been working on the principles of the Constitution but there have been some obstacles," he said at the concluding ceremony of the Constitution at 70 campaign.

In Kolkata, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee paid tributes to B R Ambedkar.

Let us live every word of the Constitution: Sovereign, Socialist, Secular and Democratic Republic, Justice, Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality, she tweeted.

Former West Bengal governor and one-time national security advisor M K Narayanan, who was invited to the special session of the West Bengal assembly, claimed there is a threat to secularism.

"Just like several other principles enshrined in our Constitution, secularism is under threat in the present-day situation. Pluralism too is under threat," he said.

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