Several parties and organisations will participate in a ‘Save Constitution’ rally on January 26 to expose what they termed “threat to the Constitution under the BJP government”. The BJP government has declared January 26 as ‘Samvidhan Diwas’. The top leadership of the Congress, NCP, CPI(M), CPI, Janata Dal (Secular) and RJD along with various social organisations will take part in the rally.
Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) chief Raju Shetti, who is the chief convenor of the ‘Samvidhan Bachao’ rally, said, “Under the ‘People’s Movement’, we have decided to unite all non-BJP parties and organisations across the state and the country. The aim is to expose the threat to the Constitution under the present BJP government.”
While acknowledging he was initially part of the BJP government in the state and at the Centre, Shetti said, “We believe the RSS and the BJP are working to change the Indian Constitution. We want to protest through a silent march on January 26, which also marks ‘Samvidhan Diwas’.” “Efforts are under way to get Congress president Rahul Gandhi to join the rally,” said a source.
Shetti said, “Around 250 senior leaders and supporters will walk from B R Ambedkar’s statue to Shivaji’s statue in south Mumbai. The silent march will conclude with a sit-in for a few hours.” Among the leaders who are likely to participate includes Sitaram Yechury (CPM), D Raja (CPI), Sharad Pawar (NCP), Sharad Yavad (JD-S) and Shetti (SSS). Several organisations and media persons too have extended their support to the rally. An NCP leader said, “We have decided to let Shetti take centrestage. Otherwise, it would end up in a oneupmanship between the Congress and NCP.”
State Congress president Ashok Chavan, while extending support to the all-party rally, has also evolved a separate programme for the state unit. In a statement issued here late Tuesday, he said, “On January 26, Congress will hold rallies in all districts across Maharashtra under the theme ‘Save Constitution’.”
Senior political commentator Bharatkumar Raut said, “While the Indian Constitution has given freedom to people to protest, the larger question is, where is the threat?”
“B R Ambedkar’s Constitution is framed in such a manner where no political party, including the BJP, can alter its core structure. Moreover, if the Opposition is trying to link the incident involving four top SC judges as a threat to the Constitution, it is misplaced… It had nothing to do with the Constitution,” he observed.