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Mainstream, VOL LIX No 24, New Delhi, May 29, 2021

Initiate Formation of a National Government - CFD’s Letter to the President of India

Saturday 29 May 2021

GPF, 221-3 Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, New Delhi-110002
“Ashadeep”, XI Cross, Saptapur, Dharwad – 580001, Karnataka
Email: srhiremath1944[at] Ph: 94481 45930

NO. 251/CFD-NG/2021-22

May 12, 2021

1. Hon’ble President of India, Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi
2. Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, Supreme Court of India, New Delhi
3. Hob’le Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Parliament Bhavan, New Delhi
4. Hon’ble Opposition Leader, Rajya Sabha, Parliament Bhavan, New Delhi
5. Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha, Parliament Bhavan, New Delhi
6. Hon’ble Leader of Opposition, Lok Sabha, Parliament Bhavan, New Delhi

CC: Hon’ble Prime Minister, Govt of India, New Delhi
CC: All Hon’ble Chief Ministers of the States

Respected Sirs,

Sub: REQUEST for initiating urgent steps for the formation of a NATIONAL GOVERNMENT with a broad political vision that can bring all sections of India together to effectively deal with the Covid Catastrophe and strengthen the democratic institutions and restore the ethical values in public life.

1. We, in Citizens For Democracy (CFD), are writing to request you all, holding important Constitutional positions, on the above subject, when we are facing the worst health crisis since independence. This is also in the extraordinary situation of the colossal failure of the present Central Government. Therefore, we request you to urge the Central Government to convene a virtual special session of the Parliament to discuss the national crisis and build consensus towards the formation of a National Government to overcome this grave national crisis, to better prepare the nation for the third wave and for providing sustenance to the vulnerable sections of society like the migrant workers and other deprived people. We strongly feel that such a national government, with cooperation of all sections of society can deal with this unprecedented crisis effectively. It can also take steps to strengthen our democratic institutions and restore ethical values in public life.

2. The CFD was founded in April 1974 by Lokanayak Jayprakash Narayan (JP) for preserving, defending and strengthening democracy in the country. It also works for the attainment of a comprehensive political, economic and social participatory democracy. It is neither a political party nor a supporter of any political party. Other founding members, who also served the CFD as its President after the founder President JP, were: Justice M.C. Chagla, former Chief Justice of Bombay High Court, Prof V.V. John and Justice V.M. Tarkunde, followed by Shri Kuldip Nayar, the veteran Journalist. The CFD played a historic role in protecting democracy during the dark days of emergency rule by the then PM: Smt. Indira Gandhi during 1975-1977 and has continued its activities for the cause of democracy to date. The most recent activity was the NATIONAL CAMPAIGN to uphold our decades-long policy of free universal vaccination.
Background for the CFD call for National Government:

3. As the second wave of COVID-19 rages across the nation as tsunami and overwhelms our Public Health System, we are witnessing very tragic and heart-rending scenes of suffering and death all across the nation. While we see some people crying for oxygen and other medicines like remdesivir and dying in large numbers both in the hospital and outside (those who could not get a bed), we are also seeing black marketing, profiteering from the same oxygen cylinders, medicines and exorbitant price for ambulances for taking patients to hospital especially those from rural areas. In the midst of the mounting challenges of covid tsunami, the present Central Government, remains ill-prepared and clueless to handle the situation and still worse, at India’s gravest hour, it has increasingly become part of the problem and not the solution. Hence this appeal

4. The Central Govt, instead of learning from the experiences of last year and heeding the warnings, well in advance, of experts about the second wave and acting responsibly by preparing a systematic plan for dealing effectively impact of the second wave, it allowed large gatherings like the Kumbh Mela and the huge political rallies for Assembly elections in several States, particularly in West Bengal, where both Hon’ble Prime Minister and Hon’ble Home Minister participated actively, thereby contributing significantly to the second covid wave becoming a tsunami, with all its serious implications. Further, the Central Govt has abdicated the decades-long policy of free universal vaccination, for which we, in CFD, had to remind the government by our recent national campaign launched on 01.05.2021.

5. All this miserable failure of the present central government is affecting, most adversely, vast sections of the people of this country particularly the marginalized communities like the migrant laborers, farmers, dalits, workers and women. There is an urgent need to enhance the number of days in MGNREGA from 100 to 200 days per family and provide the same to both urban and rural poor, as their livelihoods have been devastated by the covid crisis including lockdowns. It is necessary to think seriously about meeting the resource crunch by levying 2% tax on the richest persons and entities to deal with the challenge of providing sustenance to the vulnerable sections of society for their very survival.

6. We in CFD strongly feel that there are compelling and historic reasons for having a National Government, at this critical juncture in our history. The present Central govt has not only abandoned a decades-long policy of free universal vaccination, but also it has unduly placed half the burden of vaccination on the already financially crippled States. It has persistently not sought cooperation and support from the Opposition. What is perhaps worse is that it has created such an unbearable environment that as people lie on pavements outside hospitals seeking medical help, the market feels comfortable to engage in price gouging of the suffering needy people. This government does not feel it necessary to show any compassion for those who are suffering or to reach out to them with messages of comfort. The political leadership in power is arrogant, totally insensitive and incompetent.

7. The present grave crisis, as described earlier, is due to the criminal negligence, coupled with the insensitivity, incompetence and arrogance of the present Central Government who have miserably failed in handling this crisis. Further, most tragically, this government is abandoning its responsibility, at this critical juncture, leaving the citizens in the most difficult situation to fend for themselves, with disastrous consequences that we are seeing around us, as also on the TV screens and in newspapers. The present central government and its associates are not even realizing and admitting that this is a very grave crisis and no government can effectively handle it alone;

Hence, the urgent need for a National Government with a broad political vision that can bring all sections of India together to effectively deal with the crisis.

6. Some silver linings in this unprecedented national (and international) calamity are:

(i) The Covid warriors especially the frontline health, sanitation and other workers are fighting the covid virus courageously and saving lives by taking great risks to their own life;
(ii) The Civil Society organizations and individuals who are helping the citizens in distress in this crisis and groups like us, need to further strengthen the same;

(iii) The third pillar of democracy in India, viz., the judiciary particularly several High Courts across the country, supported in some cases by the Supreme Court, are trying to play their constitutional role with courage and conviction in this crisis For example, the Karnataka, UP (Allahabad), Delhi and Madras High courts have passed very timely and courageous orders against the way the governments, both State and Central and also against the Election Commission of India (ECI), who are mishandling/not handling at all, the covid crisis. Further, the Supreme Court (SC) Bench headed by Justice M Y Chandrachud issued timely and firm warning that any attempt to stifle the people’s voices would attract action for contempt of Court in the context of Govt of India and also the Uttar Pradesh CM: Yogi Adityanath’s attempt to clamp down on the dissemination of information about the serious health crisis in the country or call for help. It is equally heartening that the SC has upheld the just and judicious order of the Karnataka High Order regarding the oxygen allocation to Karnataka from the Centre and also has taken pro-active action to constitute a National Task Force to streamline the oxygen allocation;

(iv) The fourth pillar of democracy: the Media, at least some sections of mainstream media, is openly saying that it has failed in its duty earlier and has blood on its hands. Further, it is recognizing that the Central Govt has miserably failed in handling this crisis and urgent need to be with the people and fearlessly holding up the mirror to the government and other authorities about the realities on the ground and

(v) Further, at international level, it is heartening that many countries in WTO are coming and asking for the waiver of some clauses of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement for COVID-19 vaccines. The purpose is to accelerate the manufacturing and distribution of enough vaccines for all countries to undertake vaccinations of a high percentage of their citizens all over the world and by doing so, deal with this pandemic effectively.

Again, we request you to urge the present government to call a special session of the Parliament for only one agenda: Discussion of the Covid Catastrophe and urgent need for formation of a National Government with a broad political vision that can bring all sections of India together to effectively deal with the crisis. This will help the States to emulate the same at State level.

We look forward to your positive response.

With Best regards,

1. S.R. Hiremath, President, CFD, Dharwad
2. Devanoor Mahadev, Founder,JMM*, Mysore
3. Prof. Anand Kumar, Ex- Convener, SA, ND
4. N D Pancholi, Gen-Sec, CFD, ND
5. Dr. Ramesh Awasthi, Chairperson, IRI, Pune
6. Dipak Dholakia, Convener, ICAN, ND
7. Prof. Ramendra Nath, President, CFD-Bihar Patna,
8. Badagalpur Nagendra, President, KRRS, B’lore,
9. Dileep Kamat, Adviser, CFD, Bgm
10. Anil Sinha, Secretary, CFD
11. Mahi Pal Singh, Editor, Radical Humanist
12. Raghavendra Kustagi, President, JSP, Raichur
13. Dr. T.R.Chandrasekhar, President, CFD-K’taka
14. Ravi K Reddy, President, LMKNV
15. Rupa Hassan, PVV, Hassan
16. Khwaja Aslamб VP, CFD-K
17. V R Patil Secretary, CFD-K
18. V. Nagaraj Convenor, DSS
19. H S Anupama,Author & Activist
20. C S Metiб JMM, Ballari
21. Mallikarjun B S, Coordr, JMM

And more signatories

*JMM- Janandolanagal Maha Maitri, SA- Swaraj Abhiyan (SA), IRI- Indian Renaissance Institute, ICAN- Indian Community Activist Network, KRRS- Karnataka Rajya Raita Sangh JSP- Jan Snagram Parishath, V-LMKNV-Lanch Mukt Karnataka Nirman Vedike, DSS- Dalit Sangarsh Samithi, PVV-Prerana Vikas Vedike

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