Dhaka, Bangladesh
All-opposition meet with Sonia over NRC-CAA

All-opposition meet with Sonia over NRC-CAA

Mamata skips over Bengal violence

NEW DELHI, Jan: Nation watched in horror at BJP-orchestrated assault on JNU coming so soon after what happened in Jamia, BHU, Allahabad University, AMU and other institutions of higher learning, said Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi on Monday slamming the BJP government over the attacks on students. Sonia Gandhi's remarks came after a Congress-led opposition meeting which was attended by 19 other political parties across the country at Parliament Annexe, Delhi. The meeting was called to corner the government on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizen (NRC) which have triggered nationwide protests. Launching an attack on the PM Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, Congress president said, "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." She alleged PM Modi and Amit Shah of diverting the nation's attention from issues of the collapse of economy, and slowing growth by raising u Page 15 All-opposition meet with Sonia over NRC-CAA From Page 1 col. 6 one divisive and polarising issue after another. "Government has let loose reign of oppression, spreading hatred and trying to divide our people along sectarian lines. There is unprecedented turmoil, Constitution is being undermined and instruments of governance being misused," she added. She further termed the protests against the CAA and NRC to be the result of widespread anger and frustration among the people against the BJP government. "There have been nationwide protests by youth supported by citizens. The immediate cause is CAA and NRC, but they reflect widespread frustration and pent up anger, which is now out in the open," she said. "The response of the police in UP and Delhi has been shockingly partisan and brutal," she added. Claiming the NPR to be the first step for the nationwide implementation of NRC, Sonia Gandhi said, "The NRC seems to have back-fired in Assam. The Modi-Shah government is now focusing on the NPR exercise that is scheduled to begin in a few months. Contrary to the assertions of the Home Minister, it is clear that this is being done to lead to a nation-wide NRC." However, in the meeting, Trinamool Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Shiv Sena, Samajwadi Party, and Bahujan Samaj Party were the notable absentees. Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and BSP chief Mayawati had earlier declared that they won't attend the meeting. Mamata dropped out the meeting over the clashes between her party workers and those of the left and the Congress during last week's trade union strike. Earlier, Mamata said that she mooted the idea of the meet and due to the clash between her party and Left, she has boycotted the meeting. She also alleged the Congress and Left of 'playing dirty politics in West Bengal'. Mayawati said her party will not attend the meeting, saying it will "demoralise" her party workers in Rajasthan, where the Congress has caused defections of six MLAs in her party. She took Twitter to inform her absenteeism from the meet due to the Congress 'betrayal' in Rajasthan. "Despite giving outside support to Congress in Rajasthan, they made the BSP MLAs join their party for the second time, which is betrayal," she said in a tweet. "Thus participating in the opposition meeting called by Congress will be demoralising for the BSP. So BSP will not attend the meeting," she added in another tweet. However, Mayawati had made it clear that her party was opposed to the CAA and demanded the government withdraw it. The opposition meeting has come two days after the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Saturday in which the Congress interim president had termed the CAA as 'discriminatory and divisive' law. Meanwhile, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday criticised the National Register of Citizens (NRC) saying that there was "no question" or need to implement it in Bihar, reports the Statesman. Signalling for the first time, his reservations on the controversial law, Kumar emphasized in the state assembly that NRC was in discussions only in the context of Assam and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also clarified on it. The chief minister also asserted that nationwide implementation of NRC was needless and had no justification. "There should be a debate on CAA. If people want, then there will be a discussion in this house. As for NRC, there is no question of the NRC and no justification for it," the Chief Minister was quoted as saying in the Bihar Assembly by NDTV. Referring to an impassioned speech made by Leader of the Opposition Tejashwi Yadav, who had demanded that the chief minister, who is an ally of the BJP, come clean on the issue of Citizenship (Amendment) Act, NRC and National Population Register (NPR), Kumar wondered from where did this talk of NRC sprung up. The country is witnessing huge turmoil on these issues (CAA, NRC and NPR), Kumar said, adding that "we should keep in mind that NRC was an exercise confined to Assam as part of the accord signed by the Rajiv Gandhi government". This is a major climbdown after his support to Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Parliament in December 2019. However, apparently finding that his party's move to support CAB has not gone down well among his voters, Nitish Kumar soon after announced not to implement the National Register for Citizens (NRC) in the state. The first such statement came from JD(U) vice-president and poll strategist Prashant Kishor who revealed that the chief minister was not in the favour of enforcing NRC in the state. The move is being described as an attempt to calm down the growing anger of the Muslim community in the state who has been on the streets against the centre's move. "Kahe ka NRC? Kyon lagu hoga NRC (Why the NRC will be implemented in Bihar)?" Nitish had earlier shot back when asked by reporters for his comment on Centre's plan to roll out the NRC. Meanwhile, Prashant Kishor on Sunday formally declared that the new Citizenship law or the CAA as well as the National Register for Citizens (NRC) won't be implemented in Bihar. Kishor is considered only next to Nitish in the party hierarchy, indicating the importance of his announcement. He also thanked the Congress leadership for their formal and unequivocal rejection of CAA and NRC. However, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has not commented anything on the National Population Register (NPR), which is seen as the first step towards a nationwide exercise to implement the NRC. His deputy in the government, Sushil Kumar Modi has announced that the NPR exercise will begin on May 15 and continue till May 28. Meanwhile, Pavan Varma, former Rajya Sabha member and JD-U General Secretary, has written a letter to the Chief Minister opposing the National Population Register.

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