"We The People...": Sonia Gandhi At Opposition's Constitution Day Protest

As the Congress-led opposition protest was going on in front of a statue of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar, Prime Minister Modi was inside parliament describing the Constitution as a "holy book"

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi protested "murder of democracy" in Maharashtra

New Delhi:

Congress leader Sonia Gandhi led opposition parties in a protest against the political situation in Maharashtra today, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi was inside addressing MPs on the occasion of Constitution Day. The protesting opposition leaders, carrying posters that said "Stop Murder of Democracy" and "Constitution in Crisis", gathered around Mrs Gandhi and a statue of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar as she read out the Preamble to the Constitution.

Mrs Gandhi was accompanied by several senior Congress leaders including her son and former President Rahul Gandhi. In a message on his official Twitter account Rahul Gandhi, who told parliament on Monday "there is no point in my asking the question (on Maharashtra) as democracy has been murdered", said he was committed to saving the Constitution.

Also present at the protest were former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Ghulam Nabi Azad and AK Antony. She was also joined by the DMK's TR Baalu, the Trinamool Congress's Saugata Roy and the NCP's Majeed Memon.

Perhaps most significantly, Shiv Sena leader Arvind Sawant was also present. Mr Sawant resigned from Union Cabinet earlier this month in a move seen as a sign the Sena was serious about breaking ties with BJP over its bid to form the Maharashtra government.

Mr Gandhi's sister, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, also tweeted and said "people sitting in power... (were) trying to weaken the power of the people by playing money power".

Earlier today party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala urged Indians to "not be mortgaged to an autocratic government blinded by (an) insatiable lust for power". In his tweet Mr Surjewala hit out at "bullies and blackmailer(s)" who were trying to "subjugate constitutional ethos".

Meanwhile, as the opposition protest was going on, Prime Minister Modi was inside parliament describing the Constitution as a "holy book".

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Congress leaders protested the Maharashtra situation outside parliament on Monday

"I bow down to 130 crore Indians, who never let their faith in India's democracy diminish. (I have) always considered our Constitution to be a holy book, a guiding light," he declared.

Shashi Tharoor, the Congress MP from Kerala, told news agency ANI his party was "protesting against the government which is violating the Constitution one side and celebrating it on the other".

On Tuesday, opposition protests over Maharashtra led to both houses of parliament being repeatedly adjourned and the Congress alleging that Lok Sabha Marshals had manhandled two of its women MPS. Earlier Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla had ordered two other Congress MPs to be forcibly removed after party members stormed the Well with banners.

Chaos broke out in Maharashtra in the early hours of Saturday morning after the BJP's Devendra Fadnavis, backed by breakaway NCP leader Ajit Pawar, was sworn in as Chief Minister of Maharashtra.

A furious Congress-Shiv Sena-NCP front, which was inches away from staking claim to the government, approached the Supreme Court on Sunday. This morning the top court ruled in favour of the tripartite alliance and ordered a floor test to be held tomorrow evening.

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