- Rahul Gandhi made the remark hours ahead of his Assam visit
- "All poor people will be expected to prove their citizenship," he said
- He also launched a counterattack on BJP over his detention centre tweet
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will for the first time visit Assam today since protests first broke out in the state earlier this month over the amended Citizenship Act. Hours ahead of the "Save Constitution-Save India" protest march that he will lead in Guwahati this afternoon, he launched an attack on the ruling BJP and said that National Register Of Citizens and the new citizenship law will be "more disastrous" than the Narendra Modi government's demonetisation move in 2016.
Rahul Gandhi also shot back at the ruling party after he was accused of lying about the detention centres in Assam in one of his tweets. "You saw my tweet? I shared Narendra Modi's speech where he is saying there are no detention centres in India and in the same video, there are visuals of a detention centre. You decide who is lying," he told reporters at the party headquarters in Delhi where he was attending an event organised to mark the Congress's 135th foundation day.
On being asked about the new citizenship law, the Congress leader drew comparison between the new law, the National Register of Citizenship and the BJP government's demonetisation move in 2016. "This sham (Citizenship Amended Act and NRC) is notebandi number 2. It will be more disastrous than the notes ban move. All the poor people will be expected to prove their citizenship. They will be the worst hit," he said. He will visit Assam today to pay tribute to those killed in the violence during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
On Thursday, the 49-year-old leader had hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his claim that there are no detention centres in India and the suggestion that a nationwide rollout of National Register of Citizens is not happening. "The Prime Minister of the RSS lies to Mother India," Rahul Gandhi tweeted in Hindi, along with an edited clip of PM Modi's speech at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan on Sunday and a media report on a purported detention centre in Assam. The Congress MP also added the hashtag #JhootJhootJhoot (Lies, Lies, Lies).
The ruling BJP slammed Mr Gandhi for his remark, calling him a "jhoothon ka sardar" (master of lies). "Today, Rahul Gandhi has tweeted something and the kind of language he has used is very objectionable. He has said that the Prime Minister of the RSS lies to Bharat Mata. I think it is wrong to expect decency and good language from Rahul Gandhi," BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said at a press conference.
"Rahul Gandhi is jhoothon ka sardar. The three detention centres (which Rahul Gandhi mentioned) were set up in Assam by his party which was in power both at the centre and the state," he said.
Massive protests against the CAA or Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the first-ever law to make religion a criteria for citizenship, have swept India. The government says the law will help non-Muslim migrants from three neighbouring nations become Indian citizens if they fled religious persecution and entered India before 2015. Activists, students, opposition parties and other protesters say the law discriminates against Muslims and is against the secular tenets of the constitution.