A DAY after the Rajya Sabha passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) president Prakash Ambedkar said on Thursday that the Bill threatens the core of the Constitution drafted by his grandfather Dr B R Ambedkar.
Describing the passage of Bill in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha as “extremely unfortunate”, Ambedkar told The Indian Express: “It was evident from day one that mainstream political parties were pushing their own agenda keeping in mind votebank politics.”
“What does one expect from BJP whose agenda is anti-Muslim? They have set their goals for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. They are working meticulously to polarise people on the Hindu versus Muslims agenda. And they have had their way,” he added.
Ambedkar claimed that Congress and NCP have played to BJP’s script by stressing on divisive politics.
“The Opposition should have pressed for an amendment, stating that all those who have voting rights at present should be declared citizens. Had the Opposition pushed this amendment, it would have at least secured the citizenship rights of all voters, including Muslims… the Opposition could have put the BJP in a catch-22 situation,” he said.
“By focussing on the divisive aspect of the Bill, Congress and NCP gave BJP a way to consolidate its Hindu constituents,” he added.
Ambedkar also took on the Opposition for its “half-hearted” role in mobilising Muslims.
“Why should issues related to the welfare of Muslims be left to regional forces alone like AIMIM or VBA and the likes? What is a mainstream party like Congress doing about safeguarding the rights of Muslims? Are they going to take their protest to a logical end or give up half way, fearing Hindu votebank?”
Also, Muslim clerics should take a public stand on the issue to send a bold message to the community, he said.
Maintaining that the judiciary can strike down the Bill, Ambedkar said, “I don’t see a judiciary versus legislation conflict in the matter… There is enough scope for the judiciary to give a judgment on merit without interfering with legislative business.”
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