Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah on Friday led a mass reading of the Preamble to the Constitution and urged every citizen to be cautious about forces that want to “bring the Manusmriti back in force by destroying” the Statute.
The mass reading of the Preamble to the Constitution was live-streamed across the state with about 1.5 crore people, including students, repeating the lines after him.
“We need to be extremely careful of all those opposed to the Constitution because these are forces that want to bring the Manusmriti back in force by destroying the Constitution,” Siddaramaiah said.
He was addressing the event at the Vidhana Soudha, organised to mark the International Day of Democracy and attended by several thousand people.
“(Enforcing the) Manusmriti means that 95 per cent of this country’s population will be living as slaves. Democracy and the Constitution are the best bulwarks against such a system,” the chief minister said.
He urged everyone, especially students, to read at least the Preamble to the Constitution and resist any attempt by regressive forces to overrun its principles.
“We will survive if democracy survives. Democracy will survive if the Constitution survives. So, it is the duty of every citizen of this country to protect democracy and the Constitution,” Siddaramaiah said.
The Karnataka government has made it mandatory for all schools to have the Preamble read out every working day at the assembly. “We are implementing the reading of the Preamble in all schools to educate children about the essence of our Constitution,” Siddaramaiah said.
He referred to Babasaheb Ambedkar’s speeches at the Constituent Assembly where he had spelt out the objectives of the Constitution.
“He spoke very clearly about what the Constitution means, what its Preamble means, its objectives, the kind of society and nation that should be built, and how its citizens should live,” the chief minister said.
Siddaramaiah said that one of the biggest objectives of the Constitution was yet to be achieved. “The freedom we won gave one vote to one person, but that same principle doesn’t apply socially and economically,” he said, citing the socio-economic inequality in the country.
“As long as we fail to understand the principles of the Constitution, and to live by it, it will be extremely difficult to develop a society based on equality in this country. We need to understand the seriousness of this,” the chief minister observed.
He described the “five guarantees” that the Congress had promised ahead of the state polls as a step in the direction of socio-economic equality.
“We are trying to provide social justice to all those who have been betrayed by society. We have implemented four of the five guarantees, which means we have walked the talk and are following the principles of our Constitution,” he added.
The Congress government has already implemented the Shakti Yojane (free bus rides for women), Gruha Jyothi (200 units of free electricity each month to every family), Anna Bhagya (10 kilos of free rice a month for every member of a poor family) and Gruha Lakshmi (Rs 2,000 a month for each woman head of the family).
The Yuva Nidhi scheme (a monthly unemployment allowance of Rs 3,000 for graduates and Rs 1,500 for diploma holders for two years or until they find a job, whichever is earlier), will be implemented in December or January.