Bitter political rivals in Kerala, the CPI(M) and the Congress, and the multi-party coalitions they lead, will shed their differences to unite in a protest against the new citizenship law in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday.
As part of the protest, leaders of the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and state ministers, and those of the Congress-led opposition United Democratic Front will attend a ‘satyagraha’ (protest meeting) outside the martyr’s column in the state capital.
The decision, it is learnt, was arrived at following a telephone conversation between Vijayan and Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala.
According to sources, Vijayan, Chennithala, state ministers and senior leaders of the CPI(M), Congress and other parties such as the CPI, Kerala Congress, IUML, RSP and the JD(S) are expected to take part in the day-long protest starting 10 am. Personalities from the fields of art, culture and literature are expected to be part of the protest, which will unilaterally demand withdrawal of the Act and call for protection of the Constitution.
Vijayan, along with his counterparts from West Bengal and Punjab – Mamata Banerjee and Capt Amarinder Singh, respectively – was among the first chief ministers to declare that his government will not enforce the new law.
“The Supreme Court had made it clear on several occasions that the basic structure of the Constitution cannot be undermined. So it is clear that this law will not stand legal scrutiny. When that is evident, there are heinous political aims behind passing anti-Constitutional laws using the arrogance of power.. Kerala will not implement it. Discrimination based on religion will not be allowed,” Vijayan had said on Thursday.
“What is being staged was a conspiracy to destroy democracy and equality, and establish autocracy and divide the country on the basis of religion. The Union government is trying to realise the dream of (V D) Savarkar and (M S) Golwalkar with the amendment. It is the offspring of a concerted attempt to sabotage equality and secularism – the basis tenets of the Constitution,” he said.
Vijayan said the Left government in Kerala will “question the legality of this black law at all possible venues”. He said, “The Supreme Court had made it clear that secularism is the foundation of the Constitution. With the amended Citizenship Act, the Union government is creating a division based on religion alone.”