The war of words between the Opposition and BJP over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill intensified on the eve of the legislation seeking to clear the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
“Anyone who supports it is attempting to destroy the foundation of the country,” Congress MP Rahul Gandhi tweeted. “It is an attack on the Indian Constitution”.
BJP leaders voiced their support for the Bill through the day. Union minister Piyush Goyal said at an event, “But the Congress for one person’s personal interest, because he was not willing to sacrifice the position of PM, partitioned the country on the basis of religion. In 1947, it was the Congress that divided the country into two parts. It partitioned India on the basis of religion.”
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said “India’s tryst with bigotry and narrow-minded exclusion” was confirmed with the Bill being passed in the Lok Sabha at midnight.
Randeep Surjewala, Congress’ chief spokesperson, described the CAB as anathema to India’s constitutional democracy. “It’s an attack on soul of India. 72 years earlier, India was partitioned by the British, Savarkar’s and Jinnah’s sinister thought and approach. Descendants of the philosophy seek to partition our foundational values once again,” he tweeted.
Goyal said the government was justified in bringing the Bill as minorities had been persecuted in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. “We have brought the Bill to make their life better. We are not saying we will not give citizenship to others,” he said.
The CPI(M) also slammed the Centre over the CAB. “By doing this, they want to sharpen communal polarisation. They want to divide the people of India and convert our secular democratic republic into a Hindutva Rashtra,” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in a statement, “India belongs to Indians of all kinds. Efforts to undermine this fact will only take our country backward…” —With ENS Thiruvananthapuram