Bharatiya Janata Party Working President JP Nadda on Friday accused Congress leader Rahul Gandhi of misleading the country about the Citizenship Amendment Act, and dared him to speak 10 sentences about the law.
Nadda made the remarks at a programme organised in New Delhi in support of the amended law. He said it was unfortunate that some people “exhibit their wisdom” without understanding any matter and mislead people. “The Congress is opposing the CAA,” the BJP leader told the audience. “He [Gandhi] should tell us in two sentences what is his problem with the CAA...He is leading such a big party and has to decide himself how he has to do it, but he should not mislead the country.”
The BJP leader said Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi had advocated citizenship for persecuted minorities from neighbouring countries, and claimed the Congress at present did not have any leader who could understand the their problem. Within six months of coming back to power, the Narendra Modi government had resolved matters pending for 70 years, he added.
Nadda claimed that the Opposition was now left with no other matters with which it could oppose the Centre. “For the Congress and the Left, their vote bank comes before the country,” he added. “For Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the country comes first and votes later.”
Nadda said humanity demanded that people from these persecuted minority communities in India be given justice so that they could access education, health and job facilities.
The Citizenship Amendment Act provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims. Twenty-six people died in last month’s protests against the law – all in the BJP-ruled states of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Assam. The BJP has refused to cede ground to the protestors, who have demanded a repeal of the citizenship law, and an end to the National Population Register and National Register of Citizens projects,
The citizens’ register is a proposed nationwide exercise to identify undocumented immigrants, and the government’s critics fear that since a religion criteria has now been added to the Citizenship Amendment Act, only Muslims will be disproportionately affected by NRC. The National Population Register is the first step towards NRC.