Ex-judges, editor invite PM, Rahul to publicly debate key poll issues

NEW DELHI: Former Judges Madan B Lokur, Ajit P Shah, and senior journalist N Ram wrote a letter inviting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for a public debate on the Lok Sabha Election to give a proper response to the allegations and challenges that either side had put up against each other.
They also said that the public is concerned as they have only heard allegations and challenges from either side and have not heard any meaningful responses.
“The General Election for the 18th Lok Sabha has already reached its midpoint. During rallies and public addresses, members of both the BJP, the party in power, and the INC, the principal opposition party, have asked important questions relating to the core of our constitutional democracy. The Prime Minister has publicly challenged the Congress on reservations, Article 370 and wealth redistribution. Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge has questioned the Prime Minister on possible mutilation of the Constitution, Electoral Bond scheme and the government’s response to China, and also challenged him to a public debate. Both sides have asked each other questions about their respective Manifestos, as well as their stand on the constitutionally protected scheme of social justice,” the letter read.
The former judges and journalist also said that it will be great if public listen to their responses and this is the reason a public debate would set a great precedent, not just by educating the public, but also in projecting the true image of a healthy and vibrant democracy.”To this end, we believe that citizens would hugely benefit by hearing directly from our political leaders through a public debate on a non partisan and non commercial platform. It would be ideal if the public heard not just the questions of each side, but also the responses. We are of the view that this would help to strengthen our democratic process immensely,” as per the letter.

“Accordingly, we respectfully request the two of you, as leading voices from the two sides that seek the peoples’ mandate, to a public debate with each other on the key issues of this election. The venue, duration, moderators, and format of the debate could be on the terms agreeable to both sides. We trust you will consider our request positively. We also suggest, and only if either of you is unavailable to address this debate, you may nominate a representative to the debate,” the letter added.
Madan B Lokur is a former judge of the Supreme Court, while AP Shah is a former chief justice of Delhi high court. N Ram is a senior journalist and the former editor-in-chief of The Hindu.

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