Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today launched a broadside against the Congress for opposing the amended citizenship law. At a press conference in Chandigarh, he concentrated his firepower on Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, the MP from Kerala's Wayanad, for "ignoring the plight of refugees and minorities from Pakistan".
Mr Chouhan's attack on the Congress came just after Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, who belongs to the Congress, finished taking out a massive rally in Bhopal against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, or CAA, that seeks to fast-track the process of giving citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim minorities from three neighbouring countries.
"I'm asking Sonia ji, why are they against the CAA? Why she is ignoring the plight of refugees and minorities from Pakistan? I'm not talking about Rahul Gandhi because he stays abroad more than in India," Mr Chouhan told reporters. "Sonia Gandhi didn't say anything in parliament during the CAA debate, but sits on protest near Raj Ghat," he said.
"Manmohan Singh had formulated the NPR (National Population Register). The opposition is spreading misinformation. They will go to the extent of misinforming people about Aadhaar as well," Mr Chouhan said of the Census-linked exercise that the government approved on Tuesday. "The tukde tukde gang won't be successful," he added, referring to the words coined by the right-wing to allege the opposition and their supporters want to destroy India.
In Bhopal, the district administration had removed the ban on gathering of four or more people ahead of the rally by Kamal Nath. Restrictions were imposed in most parts of Madhya Pradesh over the protests against the amended citizenship law.
"Today, question is not about what Prime Minister and Home Minister are saying. They are saying different things. Question is not about what is included in the Act (CAA), it's about what is not included. This is not about its use but of its misuse," Kamal Nath said at the rally.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act for the first time makes religion the test of citizenship in India. The government says it will help minorities from three Muslim-dominated countries to get citizenship if they fled to India before 2015 because of religious persecution. Critics say it is designed to discriminate against Muslims and violates the secular principles of the constitution.