The farmers, whose lands were acquired for the NTPC's coal-fired project at Gadarwara, are demanding jobs in the central PSU. Photograph:( AFP )
Former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and disgruntled BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha on Saturday hit out at the Narendra Modi government over issues ranging from the Rafale fighter jet deal to "concentration of power in the Prime Minister's Office".
During a discussion on `Save Democracy- Save Constitution' here, Yashwant Sinha claimed that ministerial decisions were being taken "single-handedly" in the NDA government.
Without naming Rajnath Singh, he claimed the home minister was not even aware of the BJP's decision to pull out of the alliance with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir.
Similarly, the finance minister was not aware that demonetisation was going to be announced, he said.
He dubbed the Rafale fighter jet deal as "scam of Rs 35,000 crore, much bigger than the Rs 64-crore Bofors scam".
The Prime Minister's Office is controlling all ministerial decisions while ministers are sitting "idle", he alleged.
Shourie alleged, "Undoubtedly, the Constitution and democracy are in danger. 72 lynchings have happened so far, 54 witnesses have turned hostile in Soharabuddin (fake encounter) case... CBI is being misused...(these) are live examples of the new normal and there seems no hope that the things will change."
The veteran journalist said that the media is fearful because their advertisements could get blocked.
MP and actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha said he won't quit the BJP on his own.
"However, if they want to throw me out, then I will not challenge their wisdom," Sinha said.
"People ask me why do you criticise the BJP so much despite being its member. I tell them I belong to the people of India first. I try to give honest feedback to my party and its leadership," he said.
Criticising the prime minister for demonetisation, Sinha added that when the country was yet to recover from its shock, Modi "suddenly brought GST which was a double whammy for the countrymen".
"These were not party or cabinet decisions, but Modi's decisions alone," he alleged.
NCP leader Majid Memon, TMC leader Dinesh Trivedi, AAP MP Sanjay Singh and others also spoke on the occasion.
Trivedi said, "Spirit of India has vanished today and even Supreme Court judges are seeking justice... Parliament is not working in a rightful manner... I would say all the four pillars have been compromised."
Former high court judge Abhay Thipse, who joined the Congress after retirement, said that previous government never transferred judges unnecessarily.
"Today, judges fear to take a strong decision and stand. People and press are also fearful nowadays. There were caste biases earlier also but now fringe elements have got the confidence to rule the roost," he said.
AAP leader and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh alleged that the Modi-led government was the biggest "threat" to our democracy.
"It is the height of foolishness that the UP government is showering rose petals on kanwariyas from helicopters," Singh said.
Kanwariyas who were indulging in vandalism were not real pilgrims, he said.