"Only Communal Politics...": Indore BJP Leader Quits Over Citizenship Law

The BJP's Usman Patel told news agency ANI that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party was "doing only communal politics" and was ignoring pressing issues

'Only Communal Politics...': Indore BJP Leader Quits Over Citizenship Law

Indore BJP leader Usman Patel has quit the party over the Citizenship Amendment Act

New Delhi:

A Madhya Pradesh BJP leader from Indore has resigned as Councillor and quit the party in protest over the Citizenship Amendment Act. Usman Patel told news agency ANI that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP was "doing only communal politics" and ignoring issues like the economic slowdown to "create a rift between people of all religions".

"For about 40 years I worked for the BJP with full dedication. However, I had to resign as, with the passage of CAA in parliament, the BJP is going against its own ideology - Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (a Sanskrit figure that translates as "the world is one family")," Usman Patel said.

"BJP has moved away from the real issues. It is doing only communal politics. GDP is going down and inflation is rising, but the party is bringing laws that create a rift between religions," he added.

Mr Patel isn't the first BJP leader in the state to speak out against the CAA; last month 80 Muslim BJP leaders surrendered their primary membership, calling the citizenship law a "divisive" measure.

Another BJP leader from the state - Ajit Borasi, whose father is a former Congress MP - said: "NRC and CAA won't affect only Muslims, but also SCs, STs, and OBCs. I won't endorse what's wrong".

Opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act has been fierce, with massive protests that include a weeks-long sit-in protest at Delhi's Shaheen Bagh that has become the face of these agitations.

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Shaheen Bagh also emerged as a key issue in Delhi elections, with BJP Lok Sabha MP Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma making hate speeches against the peaceful protesters; in a campaign speech Mr Verma said "they (the protesters) will enter your houses, rape your sisters and daughters, kill them".

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Hundreds have been protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Delhi's Shaheen Bagh

On Thursday Union Minister Giriraj Singh received a notice from the Election Commission for remarks about Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal - whom the BJP called a "terrorist" - "sponsoring biryani in Shaheen Bagh".

Madhya Pradesh is one of several non-BJP ruled states to have passed resolutions against the CAA; the others include Kerala and Bengal.

PM Modi and Mr Shah have led the fight back against CAA critics, accusing the opposition of spreading fake news and wilfully deceiving the public about a law, they say, will have no effect on Muslims in India.

In December the Prime Minister, addressing an election rally in Jharkhand, asked CAA opponents to protest in a "democratic manner" and said the BJP saw the Constitution as a "holy book".

Usman Patel reportedly sent his resignation to Gopi Krishna Nema, BJP Indore President, via WhatsApp. It is unclear if Mr Patel's resignation has been accepted.