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Opposition Calls For Repealing CAA, Stopping NPR-NRC, 6 Key Parties Stay Away From Meet

The Meeting, Convened By The Congress, Saw Chinks In The Opposition Ranks With Leaders Of About 20 Political Parties Attending It But Six Major Parties Choosing To Stay Away.

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Aniruddha Dhar | Updated on: 13 Jan 2020, 09:24:42 PM
The resolution said all chief ministers who have announced they will not implement the NRC in their states must also consider suspend the NPR enumeration which was a prelude.

The resolution said all chief ministers who have announced they will not implement the NRC in their states must also consider suspend the NPR enumeration which was a prelude. (Photo Credit: Twitter/Congress)

New Delhi:

Stating that the "spirit of resistance has awoken", opposition parties on Monday called for repealing the Citizenship Amendment Act and "immediate stoppage of the NRC/NPR" on grounds that the "package" is unconstitutional and targets the poor and downtrodden. 

The meeting, convened by the Congress, saw chinks in the opposition ranks with leaders of about 20 political parties attending it but six major parties -- DMK, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Trinamool Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and Shiv Sena -- choosing to stay away. 

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi  said the protests against the CAA and the NRC reflect widespread frustration and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah of diverting attention from real issues such as the economy, her son Rahul Gandhi challenged the prime minister to visit any of the troubled campuses and speak on what he is going to do for the country. 

"The CAA, NPR and NRC is a package that is unconstitutional, which specifically targets the poor, the downtrodden, the SC/STs and the linguistic and religious minorities. The NPR is the basis for the NRC. We demand the withdrawal of the CAA and the immediate stoppage of the nationwide NRC/NPR," stated the joint resolution adopted at the meeting. 

It said all chief ministers who have announced they will not implement the National Register of Citizens in their states must also consider suspend the National Population Register enumeration which was a prelude.

The resolution also listed three dates -- Subhas Chandra Bose's birth anniversary on January 23, Republic Day on January 26 and Mahatma Gandhi's martyrdom day on January 30 -- on which to peacefully and appropriately defend the Constitution and safeguard the secular democratic republic.

"A spirit of resistance has awoken.  We urgent every fellow Indian to strengthen this spirit by joining in solidarity to observe January 23 is the birthday of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose," the resolution said.

On Republic Day, people should read the Preamble of the Constitution and take oath to safeguard it. And on January 30, highlight Mahatma Gandhi's relentless campaigns in pursuit of communal harmony.

The BJP, it said, has embarked on a "dangerous course of sharpening communal polarization and attacking democratic rights and Constitutional guarantees of the people affecting millions of people and marginalized communities".

Sonia Gandhi slams Modi govt over CAA, NRC

Addressing the meeting, Sonia Gandhi said the nationwide spontaneous protests by youth supported by citizens reflect widespread frustration and pent up anger. She also alleged that the response of police in UP and Delhi has been "shockingly partisan and brutal".

"The prime minister and home minister have misled the people. They have contradicted their own statements of only weeks ago, and continue with their provocative statements while remaining insensitive to the state suppression and violence that is increasingly becoming commonplace," the Congress chief said.

She said the real issue facing India today is the collapse of economic activity and slowing growth and development affecting all sections of society, especially the poor and disadvantaged.

"The prime minister and home minister have no answers and want to divert the nation's attention from this grim reality by raising one divisive, polarizing issue after another. It is for us to work together and thwart the designs of this government," she said.

Rahul Gandhi dare PM Modi

After the meeting, Rahul Gandhi echoed her and said Modi was doing the biggest disservice to the nation by dividing it and distracting the attention of people. 

He said the prime minister should stand up and have the courage to speak to the youth on why the Indian economy has become a disaster and why there is highest unemployment in 50 years. 

"Unfortunately, the prime minister does not have the guts to stand in front of the students of this country and tell them so he crushes them using the police... I challenge the prime minister right now, to go to any of the universities, stand over there without his police, without his infrastructure and tell the people what he is going to do for this country," he said. 

Rahul Gandhi said the discussion at the meeting centred on the mood in the country with students and people of all religions and communities coming out. 

"There is a feeling of anger and fear in our students, in the weaker sections, in the farmers... The opportunity that India had has been lost, let me tell you. We are busy discussing everything except the main issue, which is joblessness and our economic strength. This is being destroyed by Mr. Narendra Modi," he alleged.

Opposition expresses solidarity with protesting students 

The opposition meeting also expressed their solidarity with the protesting students in their bid to win over the youth and students. Sources said the opposition is seeking to take the students' movement forward and have lent support to their cause. 

Asked to comment on the parties which skipped the meeting, his party colleague Ghulam Nabi Azad said the opposition is together. 

"They may or may not attend the meeting, but we are all together and united on the subject and purposes of CAA, NPR and NRC. There is no question of any division," he said.

CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury agreed and said some parties had not come but had expressed their support. 

"The question is not individual political parties, but to save the Constitution," he said. 

Parties which attend the meeting 

The Congress leaders present in the meeting included Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi, Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, KC Venugopal, and AK Antony.

The opposition party leaders who attended the meeting were NCP's Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel, CPI-M's Sitaram Yechury, JMM's Hemant Soren, RJD's Manoj Jha, CPI's D Raja, Loktantrik Janta Dal's Sharad Yadav, IUML's PK Kinhalikutty, RSP's Shatrujeet Singh, Kerala Congress-Mani's Thomas Chazhikkadan, AIUDF's Sirajuddin Ajmal and Justice (retd) Hasnain Masoodi of the National Conference.

Others present include PDP's Mir Mohd Fayaz, D Kupendra Reddy of JD-S, RLD's Ajit Singh, Hindustani Awami Morcha's Jitan Ram Manjhi, RLSP's Upendra Kushwaha, Swabhiman Paksha's Raju Shetty, Forward Block's G Devarajan, and VCK's Thol Thirumavalavan.

But key parties stay away 

BSP chief Mayawati cited "betrayal" by the Congress in Rajasthan as the reason for her party not attending the meeting.

Mayawati conveyed her decision in tweets on Monday and said the participation of the party would have hurt its workers in Rajasthan.

AAP MP Sanjay Singh said that his party will not attend the Opposition meeting as they were not informed about it.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has been sore about the Congress and Left campaign in the state against her government, had last week RSVPed to say that she would not attend the meeting.

The Congress had expected Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party to depute a representative. 

However, the biggest setback for the Congress DMK’s absence from the meet, since MK Stalin’s party has been mounting pressure on the AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu to distance itself from the NDA government’s move at the Centre.

The Shiv Sena, the Congress’s new alliance partner in Maharashtra, have also stayed away from the meeting.  

Trinamool Congress was first to voice its protest: Mamata Banerjee 

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed that her party TMC was the first to voice its protest to the Parliamentary Standing Committee against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and none can question its opposition to the amended Citizenship Act.

She claimed that the Parliamentary Standing Committee record clearly states that TMC was the first to air its opposition to the CAB at the committee's meeting and asked the opposition parties who were speaking against her to check it.

Slamming the Left parties and the Congress who blamed her for a "secret understanding" with Prime Minister Narendra Modi without naming them, Banerjee said "None can question or doubt mine and TMC's credentials in fighting against the CAA, the NRC and NPR".

(With PTI inputs)

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First Published : 13 Jan 2020, 08:36:58 PM