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Former Judges, News Editor Invites PM Modi And Rahul Gandhi For Public Debate

Justices Madan Lokur and AP Shah , former judges of the Supreme Court and Delhi High Court respectively, have invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for a public debate amid the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

A letter addressed to both,  Justices Lokur and Shah as well as N Ram, former editor of The Hindu, said the proposal is non-partisan and in the larger interest of the nation.

The former judge and journalist says public debate on a non-partisan and non-commercial forum would greatly benefit citizens and strengthen the democratic process.

It added, "This is all the more relevant because we are the largest democracy in the world and the entire world keenly watches our elections. Therefore, such public debates are important not only by educating the public but also by promoting a healthy and vibrant democracy. It will also set a great example in presenting the true image."

It said that during rallies and public addresses, members of both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Indian National Congress (INC) have asked important questions related to the core of our constitutional democracy.

The letter said, "The Prime Minister has publicly challenged the Congress on reservations, Article 370 and wealth redistribution. Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge questioned the Prime Minister on possible distortion of the Constitution, the electoral bond scheme and the government's response to China." 

"Both sides have asked each other questions about their respective manifestos as well as their stance on the constitutionally protected scheme of social justice" the latter said.

However, the letter expresses concern over the lack of meaningful response from both sides. It has stressed the importance of ensuring that the public is well-educated about all aspects of the debate in today's digital world, which is characterized by misinformation and manipulation.

In the end, Justices Lokur and Shah, along with N Ram, have requested Modi and Gandhi to participate in this debate on key election issues, suggesting that the venue, duration, moderator and format be mutually agreed upon. 

They  also proposed the option for any leader to nominate a representative if they are unable to attend.