Chavan said that the whole world – especially the developed countries – are trying to address the issue of illegal immigration and our country cannot be blind to the issue. “We must have a legal process to decide whether to give political asylum or not, but there should not be any discrimination based on religion. Maharashtra government will work it out. We are clear that we need a rule-based system,” said Chavan, while speaking at the event, which was steered in an interview format.
He said that citizenship laws have been around for a while, but the problem started when the current government – for the first time in the history of independent India – introduced the concept of religion in law making, in deciding the citizenship. “Today it is the Muslim community which is being excluded, tomorrow it will be the Christians, then there will be Buddhist, then there will be communities within the Hindu community. We don’t know where they will stop. It is an attack on the secular structure of the Indian constitution. This is not India,” he added.
The former state CM said that he is happy that students are participating in the stir against these discriminatory laws. “I am, in a way, thankful to the government for creating a space for people to get involved,” he said. Students should take a stand in public policy issues, he added.
On the three-party alliance, Chavan said that a new government – a kind of experiment – is being tried out in Maharashtra. “We have never allied with Shiv Sena before. There was a lot of heartburning in the party initially against the alliance. But ultimately it was argued that what BJP has done to Maharashtra politics in the last five years is too dangerous to be allowed to continue. It was the concept of ‘Stop BJP’ at any cost that brought the parties together. When we must choose between two, we went for the lesser harmful one,” he said at the event.
When asked why the Congress is not providing for a strong opposition at the centre, Chavan said that the party is trying to address issues such as the slowing economy, agrarian crisis and lower investment in industries. He said that the party’s working committee elections will happen soon, and it will revive soon.
When engineers at the premier institute asked why Chavan, a mechanical engineer himself, is opposed to the idea of bullet trains, he said that he would want the trains to be developed by Indians. Further, he said that Japan got bullet train when their per capita income was higher than the global per capita income and that India cannot opt for an expensive affair, when it is not doing well economically.
The four-day cultural festival concluded on Sunday.