Sudheendra Kulkarni city convenor of ‘save democracy’ front.
Mumbai: The Rashtra Manch, which was founded by sulking Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha, on Saturday held an “apolitical” meeting, which was attended by several politicians from the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and even by a disgruntled BJP MLA from Maharashtra. The meeting gave a call for a united stand against the BJP to save democracy.
Interestingly, Sudheendra Kulkarni, formerly from the BJP and the Communist Party of India (Marxsist) was appointed as the city convenor of the front. Other significant political attendees, included Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi, former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and recently elected Rajya Sabha MP Kumar Ketkar from Congress, NCP MP Majeed Memon, MLA Jintendra Awhad, AAP’s Preeti Sharma-Menon and BJP MLA Ashish Deshmukh. Retired judge of Bombay high court Abhay Tipsay, lawyer Abha Singh, journalist and writer Pritish Nandy, former ambassador K. C. Singh and Tushar Gandhi were also present.
The group discussed the various challenges facing the country as well as need to defeat the BJP in the coming elections. The group issued a statement saying that it would not function as a political front but would instead work to spread awareness on issues that threaten the idea of India. According to the organisers, the front is trying to generate awareness about the anti-democratic decisions and behaviour of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government. “We have decided to form a coordination committee for Mumbai of our group and to take the issues to the masses in details,” said Mr Majid Memon, NCP MP.
“The current dispensation is completely anti-democratic. The attacks on minorities, dalits and women have increased. The threat to Indian democracy is completely visible and so our group has decided to join hands and protest against this,” said Mr Chavan after the meeting.
The Rashtra Manch has also decided to organise a silent march in Kolhapur on May 1, which will be followed by a protest in Akola, where Mr Sinha had fasted against the state government’s anti-farmer policy. “These protests will mark the beginning of our year-long programme all over Maharashtra,” he added.