New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will observe a day-long fast on April 12 in New Delhi to protest against the disruption of Parliamentary proceedings by opposition parties.
BJP president Amit Shah will sit on a dharna in poll-bound Karnataka and BJP MPs across the nation will also join the PM in fasting, in what is being seen as an attempt to turn the tables on the Congress, a day after it held a symbolic fast at Rajghat.
While observing fast, Modi will not disturb his daily official routine of meeting people and officials, and clearing files, sources in the know said.
BJP spokesperson GVL Narsimha Rao said that the idea of the fast was mooted by the PM. He said that it is a way to communicate to the entire country that the BJP is aware of the suffering imposed on them by the logjam in the Parliament. “This is why all NDA MPs had also decided to forego their salaries for 23 days of the budget session of the Parliament,” he added.
This year’s Budget session has been the worst when it comes to productivity in the last eight years and the BJP has tried to put the blame on Congress for stopping deliberation in both Houses.
The Congress had stopped important bills from being passed, which led to a "criminal wastage" of the taxpayer's money, parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar had told reporters.
The BJP's announcement of a fast comes just a day after Congress chief Rahul Gandhi led his party on a nationwide fast targeting the Modi government over the washout of the Parliament session and a host of other issues, including the alleged caste and communal violence.
On Wednesday, a day before the fast, PM Modi will address all MPs through video conferencing as they hold "Samata Diwas" in their respective constituencies on the occasion of Jyotiba Phule birth anniversary.
With opposition parties targeting the government over Dalit protests, PM Modi also said BJP MPs and other leaders will spend a night between April 14 and May 5 in over 20,844 villages with over 50 per cent population of scheduled castes and tribes to inform the masses about the Centre's various measures aimed at their welfare.
The Congress said the PM’s fast was nothing more than a "farce", adding that the PM should instead apologise to the youth, Dalits and other sections of the society, who were allegedly let down by his government.
Congress communications in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala also said the BJP-led central government should be blamed for the Parliament washout, despite enjoying an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha.
"This is a farce of a fast by the Modi government. The BJP should apologise to the nation and hold a fast for disrupting Parliament for over 250 hours. The Lok Sabha, where the BJP has a majority, functioned for only one per cent of its time and the Rajya Sabha functioned for six per cent of its time," he said.
Surjewala also alleged that the government had "disrespected" and "degenerated" Parliament.