YOUTH LEADERS Kanhaiya Kumar, Hardik Patel and Jignesh Mewani accused the BJP-led NDA government in the Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of undermining democratic institutions and targeting those asking questions of the government.
Kanhaiya, the former president of students’ union of Jawaharlal Nehru University who is charged in a sedition case, said the Centre had been feeling unsettled by his campaign to preserve the Constitution.
“For the last many months, we are running a campaign called Samvidhan Bachao, Desh Bachao (Save Constitution, Save Country) across the country. We are making direct contact with the public and discussing things like ‘what is Constitution, what is the meaning of democracy, what are the responsibilities of the government, etc. However, those running the government are feeling threatened by our initiative even as they have the state machinery at their disposal and people like Anil Ambani are patting their back? “Kanhaiya said.
Kanhaiya was addressing a joint press conference with Patidar quota leader Hardik Patel and Vadgam MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani in the city before their Samvidhan Bachao Rally scheduled in the evening.
Kanhaiya is facing a sedition case for allegedly raising “anti-national slogans on the JNU campus. He, however, terms the case to be a ploy of the BJP and the NDA government to silence him. “The Delhi police filed a charge-sheet in the case after three years but without the permission of the Delhi government. They did not seek Delhi government’s permission as they wanted to target (Arvind) Kejriwal in the name of JNU and Kanhaiya; they wanted to target Congress in the name of sloganeering; JNU in the name of sedition; and Sitaram Yechury in the name of JNU students. They are spreading lies so as to confuse people about facts,” he said.
Kanhaiya vowed to keep raising issues and asking questions of the government despite the case pending against him.
Incidentally, photos of Kanhaiya in the hoardings in the city about the Samvidhan Bachao, Desh Bachao rally were blackened. The rally is being organised by former Congress MLA Indranil Rajyaguru.
Kanhaiya further claimed that the sedition case against him was part of a design to divert public attention from the real issues. “To preempt questions on real issues of the country, emotive issues like whether Ram temple will be built or not, if sloganeering happened in JNU or not, etc. are being raised. These issues are raised so that people forget that the PM had told them that Rs15 lakh will be credited to their bank accounts, that you will get two crore jobs,” he said.
He charged that the present regime had targeted and undermined constitutional authorities in a systematic manner. “Take, for example, the Election Commission of India (EC). The head of the IT cell of the BJP comes to know about the date of an election before the EC declares it. CBI is fighting CBI and honourable Modi’s favourite (L Nageshwar) Rao is punished by the Supreme Court to stand in a corner in the courtroom. Soon after Priyanka Gandhi is given the responsibility of Uttar Pradesh, ED questions Robert Vadra for nine hours. We are not giving a clean chit to anybody but merely pointing out how constitutional authorities are being misused. Why did the ED not remember this case for five years?” Kanhaiya questioned.
While the rally in Rajkot comes in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, Kanhaiya said he is yet to decide if he will contest the elections or not. “The Samvidhan Bachao, Desh Bachao campaign has nothing to do with elections. It is, however, possible that some of us might contest the election and build a career in politics. But the fight for saving the Constitution will not end with that.
Hardik, meanwhile, said he does want to contest election though did not give a direct answer if he would fight the upcoming Lok Sabha election.”I certainly want to contest but I haven’t decided the party on whose ticket I will contest and from which constituency. I have also not decided if I will contest the 2019 election. But it is certain that I will contest some election and that will be against the BJP,” said Hardik.
Putting speculations to rest, Mewani, the independent MLA from Vadgam, said he will not contest the Lok Sabha polls. ” I again clarify that I am not going to contest the Lok Sabha election. But will campaign for real issues like education, health, unemployment, etc within the ambit of Constitution.”