Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, with the active co-operation of his ministers and party colleagues, put up a massive show against the Citizenship Amendment Act and NRC. The most significant feature of this show was the support lent to it by the Left parties, including the CPI and the CPM, and several secular organisations, including Progressive Writers’ Association, All India Secular Forum and a number of independent progressive Left intellectuals.

Support was also lent by representatives of various religious leaders. All of them were seated on a huge dais put up for the occasion. Wearing Gandhi caps and holding the national flag in their hands, thousands of Congress workers marched on the streets.

“So long as the Congress is running the government in Madhya Pradesh, no anti-Constitution, anti-people and anti-religion law will be implemented here,” CM Nath told media persons after the march on Wednesday afternoon. Earlier in the day, he addressed a gathering of Congress workers and public and said, “Our country’s identity is our culture to unite in diversity.”

Flanked by former Union minister Suresh Pachauri, cabinet ministers PC Sharma, Arif Aqueel, Jaivardhan Singh and Jitu Patwari, MLAs and state PCC office-bearers, the CM marched with the party workers for nearly two km.

Through the Shanti March, we want to attract the country’s attention and want citizens of this nation to realise how the Constitution is being subverted by the government. India’s tradition is to unite people and build relations and that is also the Congress party’s tradition, he said.

“The attack today is not just on our Constitution but on the rights of every citizen. Our illustrious leaders like Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar had framed the Constitution to unite the diverse peoples of India under the Indian flag. Today, that idea of unity is under attack. The kind of law that has been passed endangers our rights and our future. Let us all raise our voice to protest it, he said.

Nath said that in his 40 years as a Parliamentarian, he had never come across such anti-Constitutional measures as CAA and NRC. “The question is not what the Prime Minister and the Union home minister are saying because one says something and the other says something very different. The question is not what is written in the law. But what is no written. The question is not the utility of the law, but the possibility of its misuse,” he said.

“CAA and NRC should no be the concern of the political parties alone but should alarm every citizen. There is so much unemployment, there is economic slowdown, lack of investment and farm crisis, yet there is no discussion on these issues in Parliament. Instead, people’s attention is being diverted by the BJP, which has been indulging in such politics for several years,” Nath said,

MP is the heart of India and from this heart we want to send a message to the citizens of the nation and make them aware of how the Centre is jeopardising their future, he said. However, the BJP criticised the Congress for holding the march and termed the protest as ‘unconstitutional’.

“Congress held a protest in the name of peace march against refugees who have been facing torture, rape and are being forced of convert to other religions. This is in violation of Article 256 of the Constitution, which obligates states to ensure compliance with the law made Parliament,” Rajneesh Agarwal, the state BJP spokesperson said. Former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said, “The Congress is spreading confusion over Citizenship Act and misguiding the people. For political interests, a few narrow-minded persons are trying to push the country into a cauldron of violence.” BJP state president Rakesh Singh said, “Kamal Nath has no right to continue in office after staging a demonstration against Parliament’s decision.”

The BJP has called a meeting of all its office-bearers and district presidents on Thursday to plan a campaign in favour of CAA.

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