Kerala will witness a unique protest on Monday, as two traditional political rivals, two warring factions will come together at the same platform against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. The Left Democratic Front led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the United Democratic Front led by Ramesh Chennithala will protest on Monday against the BJP government.
Speaking to TNM about the protest that will see rivals come together, Ramesh Chennithala said that he believes standing together is the need of the hour to oppose a move that erases the very foundation of secularism.
â€śIt was the demand of the Opposition to hold the joint protest and I talked to the Chief Minister regarding this. This is an issue in which the state should stand unitedly. Not only that, a few extremist groups have tried to make use out of the situation. But this is not the issue of a particular community. The Chief Minister also immediately agreed to it. By protesting unitedly we want to send a message that Kerala is together in its opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act,â€ť the Congress leader said.
Chennithala was seemingly hinting at groups like the PFI and the SDPI calling for protests and even a hartal in Kerala.
The united protest has piqued curiosity in Kerala as it comes at a time when the opposition is taking the CPI(M) head on in many issues and the recent assembly session saw heated debates after a Congress MLA was injured in clashes with police.
â€śI spoke to the Chief Minister after talking to leaders of the coalition parties in the Opposition. All the coalition parties also agreed to it. But only the leaders of those parties that have representation in the Assembly will take part in the protest,â€ť Chennithala who is also former Home Minister of the state said.
About the protest against the Act organised by a few Dalit and Muslim organisations like SDPI on Tuesday, December 17, Chennithala said that there was no need to project the issue as that of one affecting only a certain community.
â€śItâ€™s an issue that affects all. There is no need to categorise it as an issue of either Hindus, Muslims or Dalits. All those who have a secular mindset should stand unitedly," Chennithala stressed.
On Saturday, after meeting a few leaders from the North- East, Home Minister Amit Shah had said that the Act can be tweaked if necessary.
â€śAmit Shah and the BJP should realize that the opposition is from all quarters and should withdraw the amendment. India is a secular country and not that of religious fanatics and with the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the idea of India has been totally destroyed by the BJP government,â€ť Chennithala said reacting to Shah's statement.
The Congress will protest until the Act is withdrawn, he says.
â€śMondayâ€™s protest is a token one. The Congress will go ahead with separate protests in the coming days. We will not back out till they withdraw it,â€ť Chennithala said.