The proposed INDIA bloc rally in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh’s capital Bhopal in October first week has been cancelled, former chief minister Kamal Nath said on Saturday during an event to announce seven statewide Jan Aakrosh (public anger) Yatras, starting Ganesh Chaturthi on September 19.
“It (Bhopal rally) is not going to happen,” Nath told journalists. Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala said no final decision has been taken on when and where it will now be held.
Reacting to the cancellation announcement, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the Opposition parties had taken the decision as people were angry with them for “insulting Sanatan Dharma”, alluding to the statement made recently by DMK leader Udhayanidhi Stalin.
“This is the anger of the public. Sanatan Dharma was insulted and was called dengue and malaria. The people of Madhya Pradesh will not tolerate this… INDIA alliance must understand that it has hurt our faith and this won’t be tolerated at any cost. People of MP are angry and they (INDIA members) were scared, therefore they cancelled their rally…,” the CM said, adding that there is no strength in the alliance’s leadership.
On Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior BJP leaders’ comments on Sanatan Dharma, over which the ruling party has been upping its attack on the Congress, Surjewala said, “What is Sanatan? It is the people of this country. Today on that very same Sanatan an attack has been called, that’s why this Jan Aakrosh Yatra (has been planned). Sanatan Dharma and traditions will continue to remain even after we are gone. Bharatiya Rashtriya Congress will propagate this tradition through this yatra.”
On BJP leaders’ attack on the Opposition alliance, he said, “Those people, including PM Modi, use such language because they can’t give answer to the corruption (allegations) in Madhya Pradesh. Why doesn’t the PM answer why the patwari exam paper was sold for Rs 15 lakh? Why doesn’t he talk about when Vyapam scam accused will be given a sentence? Why doesn’t he talk about the 250 scams their government committed in 18 years? How does the PM sleep in this country?”
Speaking on the Sanatan Dharma row, Nath said, “Bharat is the nation of Sanatan Dharma. Why is the BJP trying to divert the attention of the people from real issues by bringing the Sanatan Dharma controversy. Remember the 2019 elections? Nationalism, surgical strike? How they diverted, how they changed the agenda, discussion. It’s like they have taken a contract of religion.”
“If I take part in some religious programme in Chhindwara, they get a stomach ache. We go to a temple because of our belief and not to bring it to the political stage, it should not be brought. There will only be one game of the BJP for the next three months, how to distract, talk about Sanatan Dharma, pick up a religious issue, how to have religious disputes… They won’t talk about the main issues,” Nath said.
Asked who will be the CM candidate for the Congress, Surjewala looked at Kamal Nath and said, “Can you not see.”
The Jan Aakrosh Yatra will cover 11,400 km — all 230 Assembly segments of Madhya Pradesh — in 15 days. The yatras will be led by senior leaders, including Leader of Opposition in Assembly Govind Singh, ex-Union ministers Arun Yadav, Kantilal Bhuria, Suresh Pachouri, Congress Working Committee member Kamleshwar Patel, ex-MP minister Jeetu Patwari and former LoP Ajay Singh ‘Rahul’.
First published on: 16-09-2023 at 18:22 IST