Congress leader and former home minister P Chidambaram said today that after the Assam NRC “fiasco”, the Narendra Modi government has quickly “changed gears” and is now talking of NPR. Addressing a Press conference, at Bidhan Bhavan, the state Congress headquarters, Mr Chidambaram said that NPR is “nothing but NRC in disguise”.
“Our purpose is to fight the sinister purpose of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Population Register (NPR) and mobilise public opinion against them.” Mr Chidambaram said. “Our stated position is that we will not agree to NPR being rolled out from April 2020,” he said. The Congress leader said the issue of Constitutional validity of CAA lies with the Supreme Court.
“We are fighting against NRC and CAA.” he said. “Sometimes we fight together, sometimes differently.” the Rajya Sabha member said. “The important thing is that we are fighting.” he said. “All parties fighting against NPR, CAA and NRC must come together and I am confident they will,” Mr Chidambaram said when asked what he thought about Trinamul Congress not attending the Opposition conclave convened by Congress’s interim president Sonia Gandhi.
In Bengal and elsewhere there are intra-state factors at play, he said, elaborating on Trinamul’s absence, but added that in the larger picture the Opposition parties are together in their fight to save the essence of the Indian Constitution. Mr Chidambaram said that the BJP had failed to gauge the strength of the opposition to the CAA and NRC and thought of it as a ‘passing cloud’.
“So far students had agitated for rollback of fees, postponement of examination and other issues” he said. “I am proud that students are fighting for intangible things like constitutional integrity, constitutional morality” he said.
“This is all the more manifest at the Park Circus rally against CAA organised by a housewife which I attended last night, and political parties must realise that they have to identify with this movement, the biggest since Independence or stay away and be marginalised,” he said.
“Participation in a meeting does not mean giving assent to its agenda” Mr Chidambaram said when asked about his party’s stand as chief ministers of Congress-ruled states have attended the meet on NPR called by the Union home ministry in New Delhi. Congress activists will take ahead the campaign against the “sinister” CAA and “mischievous” NRP, he said.