Former ally Raju Shetti accuses BJP of showing its 'true colours'

Raju Shetti accused his former ally, the BJP, of showing its true colours and also of abandoning its anti-corruption and development planks.
For representational purposes
For representational purposes

MUMBAI: Farmer leader and Lok Sabha MP from Hatkanangle, Raju Shetti, today accused his former ally, the BJP, of "showing its true colours" and also of abandoning its anti-corruption and development planks.

Shetti, who had aligned with the BJP during the 2014 Lok Sabha and Maharashtra Assembly polls, was speaking a day ahead of the "save Constitution march" organised by several opposition parties.

He said that the planks of development and anti-corruption had brought several sections of society closer to the BJP during the 2014 polls.

"But now a senior BJP minister Anant Kumar Hegde says the BJP has a majority in the Lok Sabha and has the mandate to change the Constitution. What was in their stomachs has now come to their lips," Shetti said.

"The people had not given BJP a mandate for all this. During elections, the party spoke of "achche din", unemployment, depositing Rs 15 lakhs in people's accounts and good remunerative prices for farm produce. Now they talk of changing the Constitution," he added.

He informed that the "save Constitution march" would begin near the statue of BR Ambedkar near the Mumbai University campus and would culminate at the Gateway of India.

Terming the event a non-political one, Shetti said that all those who believed in the protection of the Constitution would participate and said that it would be a silent march culminating in a dharna at the Gateway of India.

Nationalist Congress Party leader Jitendra Awhad, who is organising the march along with Shetti, said that NCP president Sharad Pawar, CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury, 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 were among the prominent leaders who would participate in the march.

Awhad said that four senior Supreme Court judges going public with their grievances was alarming, adding that "if judges say they have grievances, what will the common man who wants justice do?"

"The Constitution of India binds the country together and its protection is the paramount duty of all Indians," he said.

Speaking about the BJP's "Tiranga Yatra", also being held tomorrow, Shetti said, "What is the need of the "Tiranga Yatra" at the same time as our march. It just shows that the BJP has a feeling of guilt."

Awhad claimed that Deendayal Upadhyaya, the BJP's icon, had once written in the RSS mouthpiece "Organiser" that Hindus will never respect and own the triclour.

"Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who will address the "Tiranga Yatra" tomorrow, should clarify whether he agrees with the views of Upadhyaya on the Tricolour," he asked.

Congress leader Rajeev Satav added that Fadnavis' letterhead had an image of Upadhyaya, demanding that the CM speak about whether he agrees with Upadhyaya's views.

Satav said that the "save Constitution march" was an effort by all like-minded parties to show that any attempt to hurt the Constitution would not be tolerated.

Farmer leader Shetti informed that the Mumbai Port Trust had not denied them permission to have the dharna at the Gateway of India. "The mushaira of the BJP's minority cell is in the evening. We will wind up our programme by 4pm," he said.

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