On Republic Day, opposition leaders including Sharad Pawar, Omar Abdullah, Hardik Patel led the ‘Samvidhaan Bachao’ rally in Mumbai to protest the policies of the Modi government.
The protesters marched from the statue of BR Ambedkar, near the Mumbai University campus, to the Gateway of India.
The ‘Save Constitution’ march is being seen as an attempt to consolidate anti-BJP forces ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury, Independent MP from Maharashtra Raju Shetti, CPI leader D Raja, rebel JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav, National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah, Congress leaders Sushilkumar Shinde, Ashok Chavan, Prithviraj Chavan and Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil also attended the event, as did a few senior TMC leaders.
“This will be a silent morcha (march). After reaching the Gateway (of India), they will stage a sit-in for some time. There will be no speeches,” he said.
Other prominent leaders in attendance include Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan, Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam and Tushar Gandhi, the great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi.
The saffron party’s rally started from Chaityabhoomi and concluded at the Kamgar Stadium in Central Mumbai, covering a distance of around 2.5 km.
At the venue, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis addressed a gathering and launched a scathing attack on non-BJP parties over their event that coincided with the Republic Day which marks the coming into force of the Constitution.
Those who are holding ‘Save the Constitution’ rally are actually hypocrites. They see only holes in our Constitution which is the soul of the country and fundamental to our democratic existence. While we are showing true respect to the Constitution drafted by Babasaheb Ambedkar, the opposition parties are fighting for their own existence.”
Devendra Fadnavis, Maharashtra Chief Minister
He mocked the opposition parties and questioned the legislative strength of some of them.
“People are wise and they know their (opposition’s) hypocrisy. Eighteen parties, some of them not having a single MLA or MLC, could not manage to assemble even 1,800 people,” he said.