Invitation: to a PM Modi vs Rahul Gandhi debate

Citizens call for a public showdown in an open letter co-signed by justices (retd) Madan Lokur and A.P. Shah and ‘Hindu’ ex-editor N. Ram

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi (R)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi (R)

NH Political Bureau

It's an invitation to a showdown, with the general public to judge.

A few Indian citizens have sent a letter to the country's prime minister, Narendra Modi, and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, asking them to face off on a non-commercial and non-partisan platform so that the public can hear directly from the leaders.

Co-signed by retired justices Madan Lokur and A.P. Shah as well as former editor of the Hindu N. Ram, the letter states that as the general elections for the 18th Lok Sabha have reached their midpoint, the public has only heard allegations and counter-allegations; meaningful clarification and verifications have been missing.

The letter says:

[We] believe that citizens would hugely benefit by hearing directly from 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 responses. We are of the view that this would help to strengthen our democratic processes immensely.

‘This bears more relevance as we are the world's largest democracy, and the entire world is watching our elections keenly. A public debate [such] as this would set a great precedent, not just by educating the public, but also in projecting an image of a healthy and vibrant democracy.'

The letter underscores that during rallies and public meetings, members of both the BUP, the party in power, and the Indian National Congress, the principal opposition party, have asked important questions relating to the heart of India's 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, the 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 signatories believe this debate is necessary so that the general public is educated enough on the key issues raised so as to make an informed choice at the ballots: 'This is central to the effective exercise of our electoral franchise.'

The letter suggests that the venue, duration, moderators and format of the debate should be on terms agreeable to both sides.

It also states that if either of the leaders is unavailable, a representative could be nominated for the debate.

The full text of the letter may be read below:

Invitation: to a PM Modi vs Rahul Gandhi debate

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines