Published: December 31, 2019 4:54:36 am
Leading a protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act near Mahatma Gandhi statue at Mata Rani Chowk in old city area of Ludhiana Monday, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said that “at no cost, CAA will be implemented in Punjab”.
“We will fight against it tooth and nail. BJP-led NDA government is trying to change the values enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution. Punjab will not implement CAA,” said Amarinder, leading the protest march with other party leaders including Finance Minister Manpreet Badal, PPCC president Sunil Jakhar, Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu, party incharge for Punjab affairs Asha Kumari, MP Preneet Kaur, Cabinet Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa among others.
“My government will not allow implementation of CAA in Punjab and the Congress would continue to fight it tooth and nail. BJP cannot not get away with its nefarious designs. The protests against the draconian Act were going on currently in sixteen states, including Punjab,” he said.
Reading out the Preamble, he said it was the very basis of India’s foundation, which nobody could disturb. “While Articles of the Constitution are amended from time to time, not just in India but across the world, no one can tolerate tinkering with its basic structure,” he said, pointing out that even the United Nations had termed the CAA as “discriminatory”.
On the alleged manhandling of AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi in Uttar Pradesh, Amarinder said the police could not have indulged in such behaviour without CM Yogi Adityanath’s knowledge. “Aren’t you ashamed of such actions,” he asked Yogi Adityanath. “Congress would not forget this incident. It was shameful,” he said.
Amarinder said that “while the entire world was expressing concern over the ramifications of the legislation”, those sitting in Delhi continue to be adamant, refusing to pay heed to the voice of the nation.
“Guru Nanak Dev always preached secularism. He said ‘Na koi hindu, na koi musalman, sab rab de bande (nobody is a Muslim or a Hindu, all are God’s people)’. We believe in this philosophy which is basis of India’s secular fabric not what BJP is trying to spread,” he said. “Nanak’s secular ideology was being attacked while his 550th birth anniversary was being celebrated across the world,” the CM added.
Finance Minister Manpreet Badal said if Modi will “try to send Indians out of the country, the Congress will send him (Modi) out of India”.
Noting that the BJP had secured a mere 39 per cent votes in the last Lok Sabha elections, he asserted that with the remaining 61 per cent supporting the opposition parties, the Modi government could not get away with the enactment of such “black laws”.
“People accepted demonetisation and GST assaults patiently and had not lost all their patience, but now people have lost it because CAA is draconian,” said PPCC president Jakhar, adding that “NDA itself was a ‘tukde tukde’ government, which was out to divide the country”.
Jakhar lambasted the BJP-led Union government for allegedly trying to implement the agenda which the “goras” (British) had failed to execute.
Protest chokes roads
The old city areas of Ludhiana, including old GT road near Municipal Corporation headquarters (Zone-A), railway station, Clock Tower and others were completely choked as Congress leaders led by Jakhar, marched from Daresi Ground till Mata Rani Mandir Chowk (near MC headquarters) where Amarinder Singh joined them.
Amarinder then addressed protest rally near the Mahatma Gandhi statue installed near the MC headquarters. Interestingly, the congested spot was chosen as Gandhi statue wasn’t available anywhere else in city. For hours, commuters suffered due to traffic diversions and even shopkeepers had to close their shops in nearby markets due to CM’s security. He arrived by road instead of chopper this time.
A road near MC headquarters was also blocked because a tent was pitched for CM to address the protest rally.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines