Aiming to consolidate his party’s position among the Other Backward Classes ahead of the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, senior Congress leader and former chief minister Kamal Nath said on Thursday his party would amend the Constitution for the benefit of the OBC community if it returns to power at the Centre.
The Madhya Pradesh Congress president accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of cheating the OBCs in the state, where polls are due by end- 2023.
“I promise that whenever our government comes to power at the Centre, it will amend the Constitution to extend the benefit of reservation to the OBC community,” Nath said at an OBC community rally in Satna town.
Sources close to Nath said such a constitutional amendment will ensure removal of the 50 per cent cap on quota in jobs and education, and uniformity in implementation of 27 per cent reservation for the OBCs in all states.
“When our government was in power in Madhya Pradesh, it had given 27 per cent reservation to the OBCs in the state (up from 14 per cent earlier), but the BJP cheated them (the community) and dragged the matter to court,” he alleged.
The Congress leader sought to know what the BJP had given to the people of the state despite being in power for the last 18 years barring the brief period in 2018-20 when his party governed Madhya Pradesh.
Nath slammed Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, saying he has made more than 20,000 announcements and accused his government of committing a scam in the name of “smart city” project.
He said, “It is not a smart city (project), but a smart scam. Chouhan himself has said he is a machine of making announcements.” Nath said the Constitution framed by Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar is known the world over and many countries adopted similar statute book and warned India’s culture was in danger today.
“It was a challenge for him (Dr Ambedkar) to make a Constitution for such a diverse country but he drafted a great Constitution for the nation based on which leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel took the nation forward,” said the former Union minister.
“But today India’s culture is in danger and you have to decide whether you want to tread the path of Modi (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) or the path shown by the country’s culture,” he said.
Accusing the BJP of spreading hatred and indulging in divisive politics, he said the country is witnessing a linguistic dispute in Tamil Nadu and pro-Khalistan slogans were raised in Punjab after 35 years.
During his stint as the CM between December 2018 and March 2020, Nath said his government waived agricultural loans of 27 lakh farmers, provided 100 units of electricity for Rs 100 and raised the pension for the poor.
“But they (BJP) toppled the government by indulging in ‘soudebazi’ (horse-trading),” he said, referring to the revolt by a section of Congress MLAs loyal to Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia whose defection to the saffron outfit pulled down the Congress regime.
Talking to reporters earlier, Nath said his government had allotted Rs 22 crore for developing ‘Ram Van Gaman Path’ in Chitrakoot (as it is believed Lord Ram resided in this area for most part of his 14-year exile) but the current government has no record of the project.
“This (Satna) area is rich in natural as well as mineral resources but unfortunately industrialisation activities have stopped here. Only cement factories that were established 25-30 years back are existing. No new investment was made here,” he said.
Asked about the row over claims of alleged obscene videos of BJP leaders, Nath said, “When our government was in power, such types of videos and CDs had surfaced but I had directed officials to probe them in a proper manner as I didn’t want the state’s image to get sullied.” Criticising the ruling party for filing FIRs (first information reports) against Congress MLAs over “trivial” matters, Leader of Opposition Dr Govind Singh recently claimed the Congress was in possession of “obscene CDs and videos of some BJP leaders”.
Reacting to the former CM’s comments, Madhya Pradesh home minister and government spokesperson Narottam Mishra said, “It is time for Nath to sit on temple steps and sing devotional songs. Why is he keeping and watching these CDs?” “The Congress should hand over these CDs to courts, police or a special investigative team (SIT) to probe them. Instead of these CDs, had he (Nath) focused on his MLAs, then his government would have not fallen,” Mishra said.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)