NEW DELHI: Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Thursday accused the Modi government of playing divisive politics, saying "we are not the ones doing tukde tukde, it is this government that is doing so".
He made the remarks at a press conference organised at the conclusion of the 'Gandhi Shanti Yatra' led by former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, who is now a critic of the Modi government.
Hailing the women leading the protests in Shaheen Bagh, Aiyar said they have been staging the sit-in, braving the cold and fighting for India and the Constitution.
These women are being threatened and called anti-national but they are saying "India is ours, the Constitution is ours and the Tiranga is our flag", Aiyar said at a press conference also attended by Sinha, former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, former Gujarat chief minister Suresh Mehta, Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav and Pavan Varma, who was expelled from the JD(U) on Wednesday.
NCP leader Sharad Pawar and Samajwadi Leader Akhilesh Yadav were also expected to be present at the conference but could not make it.
Organisers of the yatra said they had expressed their solidarity with Sinha's initiative to take on the government over issues such as the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, National Register of Citizens and violence at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).
Formal political forces had become a little weak following the May 2019 elections, but "these women, who people used to say never used to come out. In this cold, are out there since 44 days", Aiyar said in reference to the Shaheen Bagh protest."
"Tukde, tukde karne wale hum nahin hain, yeh sarkar hai (We are not the ones doing tukde tukde, it is this government that is doing so)," he said, accusing the ruling party of playing divisive politics.
Aiyar said those standing up against the government, including himself, were being called "pro-Pakistan" by the BJP, when actually they are committed to saving the country.
"His (Sinha) yatra has shown that we do not fear the government," Aiyar said, adding that "we have to fight them, the people are with us".
Sinha accused the Uttar Pradesh government of indulging in "state terrorism" targeting people protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
He also hit out at the BJP leaders for their language in the Delhi polls campaign and alleged that the divisive agenda of the government has become clear in the elections in the national capital.
"I have been in that party (BJP), they are cowards," said Sinha, who has floated the platform of Rashtra Manch.
Varma said divisive politics is being played in the country for political gains.
"We have to fight as Indians," he asserted.
NCP chief Pawar had flagged off the yatra from the Gateway of India in south Mumbai.
The yatra culminated at Raj Ghat and passed through several states, including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.