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India: 19-Party Alliance Begin Countrywide Protests Against Narendra Modi Government

© AFP 2021 / NICHOLAS KAMMIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during a bilateral meeting with US President Donald Trump in Biarritz, south-west France on August 26, 2019, on the third day of the annual G7 Summit
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during a bilateral meeting with US President Donald Trump in Biarritz, south-west France on August 26, 2019, on the third day of the annual G7 Summit - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.09.2021
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The opposition parties, led by Congress, are also planning to organise a 'Bharat Bandh' (nationwide shutdown) on 27 September. The alliance is protesting against the record cooking oil, cooking gas, petrol and diesel prices, as well as the debacle over snooping by Pegasus.
In a rare instance of political unity, 19 opposition parties - including main opposition party, Indian National Congress (INC) - began an 11-day protest against the Indian Government on Monday. The parties will hold protests over "anti-people" policies across the country from 20 to 30 September.
This is the first time in India that so many opposition parties have formed an alliance with such wide-ranging demands as repealing the three new farm laws, an inquiry into the Pegasus hacking debacle to be overseen by the Supreme Court, curbs on spiralling inflation, a high-level investigation into the procurement of Rafale fighter jets from France, and early elections in Jammu and Kashmir as well as the release of all political detainees.
The Narendra Modi-led government has been repeatedly hammered over unsustainable levels of inflation, fuel price rises and soaring unemployment and, according to the opposition leaders, the government is "deliberately ignoring the people" of the country. Earlier this month, Congress Youth and women leaders protested against inflation and fuel prices.
On Monday, Kanimozhi Karunanidhi, the Arts minister of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), led a black flag protest outside her residence in Chennai against the Federal government as a part of this 11-day demonstration.
Last month, in a virtual meeting, Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi urged the opposition parties to unite for the forthcoming general election scheduled to be held in 2024.

“We will jointly organise protests all over the country from 20 to 30 September,” the leaders said in a joint statement after the virtual meeting convened by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

The opposition leaders are furious with the country's government for abruptly ending parliament's monsoon session, and alleged mismanagement of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“We, the leaders of 19 opposition parties, call upon the people of India to rise to the occasion to defend our secular, democratic, republican order with all our might. Save India today, so that we can change it for a better tomorrow,” the opposition leaders said in a joint statement last month.

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