Top Congress leaders, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh read out the preamble of the constitution on Monday as the party held a protest at Mahatma Gandhi's memorial Rajghat in Delhi against the citizenship law. "What our enemies could not do, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government is trying its best to do - stall its progress," Rahul Gandhi said, addressing the gathering later.
"You could not provide jobs to youths, but destroyed the economy. That is why you are hiding behind hate. The country will not let you attack Constitution, suppress the voice of 'Bharat Mata'," said the Congress MP.
Rahul Gandhi's sister and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, before reading out the preamble in Hindi, said her party resolved to protect the constitution in the names of all those "martyred" during the protests against the citizenship law.
"In the name of Bijnor's 22-year-old Anas, who used to earn money for his family through a coffee-vending machine and had recently got married... In the name of 21-year-old Suleiman, who was studying for the UPSC exam and used to take tuition...," she said.
On Sunday, Suleiman's mother told her with tears in her eyes that her son was "martyred" for his country, Priyanka Gandhi said.
"In the names of all the children who have been martyred in this movement... In the name of Bijnor's Omraj Saini, whose five children are waiting for him and he is in the hospital, injured... In their names, we resolve today that we will protect the constitution and will not allow it to be destroyed," said Priyanka Gandhi, who is also the party in-charge for eastern Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress "Satyagraha", which also featured chief ministers like Kamal Nath (Madhya Pradesh) and Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan), called for the protection of fundamental rights in the constitution.
The Congress said there is widespread resentment against the BJP government's decision, with people across the country, especially the youth, protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act that, for the first time, makes religion the test of citizenship in India. The government says it will help minorities from the Muslim-dominated countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh to get citizenship if they fled to India because of religious persecution. Critics say it is designed to discriminate against Muslims and violates the secular principals of the constitution.
Earlier today, both Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi had urged young people to join the protest and read out the constitution.
"Dear Students and youth of India, it's not good enough just to feel India. At times like these, it's critical to show that you're India and won't allow India to be destroyed by hatred," Rahul Gandhi tweeted in the morning.
"The Constitution is our power. We have to save the country from the politics of divide and rule. Come, be a part of the reading of the Constitution text with me...," Priyanka Gandhi tweeted.