Launching a veiled attack on the Centre, the CPM-led LDF government in Kerala on Friday released a copy of the fifth state finance Budget for the 2020-21 fiscal depicting the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on the cover.
According to News18, the document was presented among the members of the Assembly after state finance minister TM Thomas Isaac ended the Budget speech, which incidentally began with remarks against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Following the controversy over the cover page of Kerala Budget, the state finance minister came out with a statement by calling the incident a "political statement".
"Definitely, it is a political statement, cover of my Budget speech. It is a painting by a Malayalam artist of Mahatma Gandhi's murder scene. We are sending out a message that we will not forget who murdered Gandhi," said Isaac.
Taking a dig at the BJP-led Centre for implementing National Register of Citizens (NRC), Issac further alleged that today history is being re-written and NRC is being used to divide the country on communal lines.
"This is important at the times when history is being re-written. There is an attempt to erase some popular memories and use National Register of Citizens (NRC) to divide the population on communal lines. Kerala will stand united," he added.
Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac: This is important at the times when history is being re-written. There is an attempt to erase some popular memories and use National Register of Citizens (NRC) to divide the population on communal lines. Kerala will stand united. (2/2) https://t.co/RLEkCOrCDn
— ANI (@ANI) February 7, 2020
On Friday, Issac began presenting the fifth Budget by criticising the CAA and a unanimous resolution was passed by the state Assembly against it.
Claiming that the amended Act posed as a threat to the basic credentials of the Constitution, he said the country was witnessing the biggest protests ever in the post-Independence era.
"Students and women are at the forefront of the anti- CAA agitations and the hope of the country lies in the youth who hit the streets vowing they would not let the country down," he said.
Coming down heavily on the NDA government at the Centre, Isaac said a "communalised government machinery", leaders who talk only about "disgust and hatred" and their party workers who consider violence as their duty was the current reality in the country.
"Generally speaking, it is the present India... The concerns triggered by CAA and the NRC are beyond words. The fear of detention centres are hanging above the head of over 19 lakh people of Assam who have lived as Indians till yesterday," he said.
Referring to the stringent opposition raised by the Left government in the state against the CAA and NRC, the finance minister lavished praise on the joint protests led by the ruling LDF and opposition UDF against the central act.
"When Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala jointly protested at the same venue against CAA, Kerala became a model for other states," the senior leader added.
Setting aside their political differences, the ruling CPM-led LDF and Opposition Congress headed UDF, came together to launch a joint fight against the Centre on the CAA, which has seen unprecedented protests all over the country.
On 31 December, 2019, all the members of two fronts unanimously supported the resolution at the special session and vehemently criticised the Central government.
Earlier, the references to anti-CAA protests had found a place in the Vijayan government's policy address also.
While presenting the policy address in the House, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan had read out references to anti- CAA resolution passed by the house, despite disagreeing with it.
Reading out the the anti-CAA stand of the state government, the governor had said, "Our citizenship can never be on the basis of religion as this goes against the grain of secularism which is part of the basic structure of our Constitution."
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Feb 07, 2020 14:12:00 IST