Eight months short of the Assembly polls in the state, the Madhya Pradesh Congress attempted a show of strength in Bhopal on Monday by organizing a protest march against the anti-people policies of BJP governments in Centre and state. The protest especially highlighted the policy of 'crony capitalism’ of the BJP government at centre that led to an economic crisis in the country.
The march was led by ex-chief minister and state Congress Chief Kamal Nath along with state in-charge J.P. Agrawal, leader of Opposition Govind Singh and many other senior leaders including former state presidents Suresh Pachouri, Kantilal Bhuria, Arun Yadav and former ministers.
Rajya Sabha members Digvijaya Singh and Vivek Tankha did not participate and the party cited a meeting called by Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge as the reason behind their absence.
The march to Raj Bhavan, attended by thousands of party workers and leaders from across the state, was cut short by police that used water cannons to stop the marchers and arrested several workers including senior leaders including ex-minister Jitu Patwari and MLA Kunal Choudhary.
Though Congress claimed that police cane was charged at the party workers leading to injuries to some of them, only use of water cannons and cops physically preventing Congress workers trying to break the police barricade was visible on the spot.
However, some workers did receive injuries when they fell before the jets of water used by the police. After the arrests, Kamal Nath and some senior leaders left the spot after handing over a memorandum addressed to the governor.
The protest started at Jawahar Chowk where a public meeting was held. Addressing the meeting, Nath said that the loyalty of Congress workers who have held aloft the flag of the party for 18-20 years without hope of any material gains provided fresh power and strength to him. “The biggest test of your loyalty will be in the next six months, but I am sure that if you are full of resolve, no one can stop us,” Nath said.
The ex-CM further said that all sections of society are feeling harassed at present – “youth are distressed due to unemployment, farmers due to unavailability of fertilizers and seeds, our small traders are distressed, violence against women is at peak.” It is your responsibility to bring the state on the right path and give such Madhya Pradesh to future generations that will set an example in the country.
“You should not bow your heads, rather thump your chest to say that the Congress displayed its policies and intentions in the government in 12 months, but some insiders helped Shivraj Singh to murder democracy and cause the government to collapse.”
He further said that the policy of crony capitalism adopted by the BJP government at Centre in favour of industrialist Gautam Adani has led to a severe economic crisis where the lifelong savings of poor and middle-class Indians are now in peril.
“Common people are distressed due to rampant price rise, unemployment, farmers’ issues, increasing excesses against scheduled communities, other backward classes, minorities and women, rapes-mass rapes and murders, collapsed law and order situation and other wrong policies of the BJP governments. The BJP and the Sangh ideology are misusing the constitutional institutions and maligning their images.”
Later, Nath tweeted to say, “I congratulate the thousands of workers who took part in the Raj Bhavan gherao of the Congress party. Adopting a dictatorial attitude, the Shivraj government used water cannons and charged at a peaceful protest. Senior leaders and more than 100 workers were taken into custody. But all this has doubled the morale of the Congress worker.”
“The Bharatiya Janata Party, which has back-stabbed the democracy, should listen carefully that a Congress government will be formed in the state after six months. This government of horse trading will bid farewell and the rule of the people will come.”
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan took a jibe at the protest saying that it is an action of a frustrated party. “This is the time to be in the State Assembly (where the budget session is in progress), but the Congress has reduced to finding excuses to create ruckus of one kind or another,” the CM said on the Assembly premises.