If the row over entry of women of all ages to Sabarimala temple had shaken and stirred the state’s politics before last year’s Lok Sabha polls, competitive politics is now playing out all over again over CAA, with an eye on next year’s Assembly polls.
Punjab’s move Friday will coincide with a meeting called in New Delhi by the Union Home Ministry to discuss modalities for the Census 2020 and NPR. It will be attended by Chief Secretaries and Census Directors of all states. Opposition parties say the NPR is a “prelude” to the NRC.
While Punia said the NDA government had introduced drastic changes to the Act, the original Act of 2008 gave the NIA powers to supersede the state police in the investigation and trial of terror-related offences.
The meeting of the Opposition parties, convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi against the backdrop of continuing protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens, made a conscious attempt to link the protests to economic distress.
Many in the Opposition said that the NPR, in itself, was little more than a counting exercise but given the deep distrust and tension around the new citizenship law and the NRC and the new query in NPR on parents’ birth, it could a key stepping stone towards the NRC.
The message is very loud and clear. This election was fought on unemployment, farmer distress, corruption, price rise, economy in the doldrums, and all social parameters of the poor neglected... by the BJP, says RPN Singh.
The BJP, according to sources in the party, was aware of the anger against the Chief Minister — but it had hoped to overcome it riding on a non-tribal consolidation and a palpable sentiment in favour of a stable government.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday said the “poor and vulnerable” will be particularly “hurt” as they will be forced to stand in queues to prove their citizenship and face hardships similar to what they endured three years ago.
The chief ministers of five Opposition-ruled states — West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee, Punjab’s Amarinder Singh, Rajasthan’s Ashok Gehlot, Chhattisgarh’s Bhupesh Baghel and Kerala’s Pinarayi Vijayan — have already opposed both the CAB and NRC.
CPI’s Binoy Vishwam said he feared the Bill will lead to the “death of India”. “Don’t kill India. Let the people of India live forever. Let the great country march forward. This Bill will be a hindrance to that march.”