'Designed to polarise': INDIA bloc parties react to CAA implementation

Some allege CAA is a move to polarise voters, others say it is the BJP's strategy to distract attention from electoral bonds scam

Anti-CAA protesters at Delhi's Shaheen Bagh, February 2020
(photo: @TabeenahAnjum/X)
Anti-CAA protesters at Delhi's Shaheen Bagh, February 2020 (photo: @TabeenahAnjum/X)

NH Political Bureau

Hours after the Modi government notified the rules for the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, Opposition parties tore into the timing of the move.

While some parties alleged that it is a move to polarise voters during the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, others said it was the BJP's strategy to distract attention from the "electoral bonds scam".

Enacted in 2019, the CAA was designed to grant Indian nationality to Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, and Christians who fled from Muslim-majority Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan before 31 December 2014.

The Congress, questioning the timing of the CAA notification, claimed that it is evidently designed to polarise voters, especially in Assam and West Bengal. In a social media post, party MP and general-secretary Jairam Ramesh criticised the Modi government for taking over four years and nine extensions to notify the rules for the CAA, calling it another demonstration of PM Modi's false claims regarding a business-like and time-bound approach.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee labelled the announcement as BJP's election publicity and expressed her intent to fight the move. She also questioned the Centre's motive for releasing the notification before Ramzan, urging people to remain calm.

"Let me see the rules first. The notification has just been issued. If people are deprived of their rights under the rules, then we will fight against it. This is BJP's publicity for elections, it is nothing else," the Trinamool Congress chief said at a press conference in Kolkata.

"You should have notified rules six months ago. If there are any good things, we always support and appreciate, but if anything is done that is not good for the country, TMC will always raise its voice and oppose it. I know why today's date was chosen before Ramzan. I appeal to the people to be calm and avoid any rumors," she added.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav characterised the CAA notification as BJP's distraction game, and called on the government to explain why many Indians renounced their citizenship during their 10-year rule.

"The public has now understood the BJP's game of politics of distraction. The BJP government should explain why lakhs of citizens gave up their citizenship of the country during their 10-year rule. No matter what happens tomorrow, you will have to give an account of electoral bonds and also the (PM) care fund," Yadav wrote on X.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan also criticised the timing of the announcement, accusing the Central government of attempting to disturb the nation, incite communal sentiments, and undermine Constitutional principles.

"The LDF Government has repeated several times that the Citizenship Amendment Act, which treats Muslim minorities as second class citizens, will not be implemented in Kerala. We reiterate that position. Kerala will stand united in opposing this communal and divisive law," said Vijayan.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal condemned the decision to notify the CAA, stating that it goes against the interests of the country. He highlighted the timing of the move, suggesting it as an attempt to divert attention from pressing issues like inflation and unemployment.

"The entire country opposes CAA. First give jobs to our children, first give houses to our people. Then bring people from other countries to our country... BJP is probably the only party in the world which is doing this dirty politics to make the poor of neighbouring countries its vote bank. This is against the country," Kejriwal wrote on X.

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