Under pressure from sustained and widespread protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has announced a 10-day door-to -door awareness campaign from Sunday to “dispel misinformation” on the issue. It also sought to distance itself from the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Even as protests against the CAA and its criticism continued from Opposition leaders, former diplomats, and academicians, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said in Jodhpur that the Narendra Modi government “will not budge an inch on its decision to implement the CAA”.
On Sunday, Shah will lead the campaign in Delhi, BJP working president J P Nadda will visit households in Ghaziabad, Rajnath Singh in Lucknow, Nitin Gadkari in Nagpur, and Nirmala Sitharaman in Jaipur. The target is to contact 30 million families in 10 days.
BJP Spokesperson Anil Jain said Indian Muslims have no reason to worry over the National Population Register (NPR) or the NRC. He said a nationwide consultation will be held before rolling out the NRC.
Congress Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said not just the BJP’s allies, but its own chief minister (CM) of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal has rejected the CAA. On Thursday, Sonowal tweeted, “As a son of Assam, I will never settle foreigners in my state. This Sarbananda Sonowal will never allow this....”
Congress leader and former Assam CM Tarun Gogoi said his party will move a resolution in the special session of Assam Legislative Assembly that the Assam Accord should be implemented in letter and spirit. “We don’t want it violated. The CAA has not only violated the Assam Accord but also various provisions of our constitution,” Gogoi tweeted.
Days after the Kerala Assembly passed a resolution on repealing the CAA, CM Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday wrote to his counterparts in 11 non-BJP ruled states, including West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee, on the need to save secularism and democracy.
In the national capital, CM Arvind Kejriwal said CAA will impact both Hindus and Muslims and appealed to the people to reject the “unnecessary” legislation. “We don’t need this law, it is completely unnecessary. Where will we accommodate 20 million Hindus from Pakistan? ” he said.
Punjab CM Amarinder Singh came out in support of Kerala passing a resolution to reject CAA. In a letter to Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Singh said the CAA failed the test of the Constitution. “I am seriously concerned that the CAA can be easily misused for infiltrating the country, particularly in border states like Punjab. It is a potential threat to national security,” he said.
In a series of tweets, Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan, a BJP ally and a union minister, said nobody can be denied citizenship on ground of religion. Bengal CM Banerjee addressed a rally in Siliguri where she questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “frequently comparing India with Pakistan”. She wondered if Modi was an “ambassador of Hindustan or the neighbouring country”.
In the national capital, former National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon said there has been no meaningful international support for the government’s recent actions, apart from a few committed members of the diaspora and a ragtag bunch of European MPs from the extreme right.
Women and members from the queer and transgender communities took out a protest march from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar against the CAA in the national capital.