New Delhi: Congress’ Maharashtra MLA Praniti Shinde Tuesday said the BJP was “hand-in-glove in every single attack on universities, women, colleges and students”.
Speaking at ThePrint’s Democracy Wall, Shinde said: “Whatever is going on in the country is extremely disturbing.”
Democracy Wall is a free-speech campus initiative, the sixth edition of which was held in Pune, Maharashtra, Tuesday.
The 39-year-old Solapur MLA said: “If they can enter autonomous institutions and attack students, it won’t be too long before they enter our homes.”
Her comments come in the wake of an unprecedented attack by masked assailants on students of Jawarharlal Nehru University (JNU) Sunday. The JNU attack has sparked a fresh wave of protests across the country over “police inaction” to nab the accused and the impunity with which the students were attacked on the campus.
“It’s the responsibility of the people in power to listen to the opposition. But let alone political parties, they are not listening to those in judicial positions, literary fields or actors. The miscreants in JNU have still not been caught. They (the ruling party) are hand-in-glove with every attack on universities, women, colleges and students,” she added.
Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala had earlier accused the government of “unleashing state-sponsored terrorism” across university campuses.
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Shinde asserted that the youth needed to make sure their voices are being heard. “It isn’t just about putting up a story on Instagram. We need to make sure our voices are heard, whether it’s by protesting or using other avenues.”
“This is not about ideology. There is a civil war brewing in our country,” she added.
On the charge that the Congress is not being proactive in hitting the streets to condemn incidents of campus violence, Shinde said the party leaders did visit JNU and even went to Jamia. “If you think we are not doing enough, we want that feedback,” she said.
On NRC, CAA and the tripartite alliance
Shinde maintained that the Congress-Shiv Sena-NCP government in Maharashtra will make sure “not to implement the CAA and NRC in the state”.
“Congress is 110 per cent opposed to both as they are not inclusive and India is a secular country where everyone must feel included.”
Shinde added that despite their disparate ideologies, the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Shiv Sena have come together for the “good of the people”.
“We had our reservations and did not agree with many things the Shiv Sena does,” she said. “That is why we have the common minimum programme (CMP). I hope everyone will follow that. We will make sure this government lasts.”
“If you heard the CM’s (Uddhav Thackeray) speech, he has said he won’t implement the (Citizenship Amendment) Act and has also compared the JNU attack to 26/11. I hope that the leadership of Maharashtra (Maha) Vikas Agadhi will stick to its stand on CMP and everyone will work as an Indian and not as a Maharashtrian or a Punjabi,” she said in response to a question about Sena’s hardcore Maratha politics.
Asked if the Congress had betrayed the mandate of the people, the Solapur MLA said the party was always willing to sit in the opposition and only agreed to be a part of the alliance after many rounds of deliberations.
“It is the BJP who got arrogant and disrespected the mandate of the people,” Shinde said. “It was our moral responsibility to come together to form the government for the people.”
In the Maharashtra elections last year, the BJP got 105 seats in the 288-member assembly, the Shiv Sena 56, the Congress 44 and the NCP 54. After a month-long stalemate and several twists and turns, the Sena-NCP-Congress government was formed.
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