NEW DELHI: Accusing the Modi government of polarising politics, several opposition parties on Monday sought to intensify protests against CAA-NRC-NPR and said Republic Day should be observed across the country by reading the Constitution to challenge the government’s effort to “undermine” India’s foundational values.
Referring to the Citizenship Amendment Act, National Population Register and National Register of Citizens as inimical to vulnerable sections of society, the opposition demanded withdrawal of CAA and the “immediate stoppage of the nationwide NRC-NPR”. It also asked opposition chief ministers to dump NPR.
The deliberations, however, were not attended by important non-NDA parties like Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, BSP, AAP, UPA member DMK and new ally Shiv Sena, making it a UPA-Left affair. The participants laboured the point that 20 parties came together on CAA-NRC-NPR, a larger cause than pinprick concerns over intra-party bickering
The attack on NPR follows a Congress Working Committee resolution to oppose it on the ground that its objectives were suspect. NPR was launched by the UPA government while NDA has added some queries like date and place of birth of parents. The government has said the NPR collects socio-economic information that helps the Centre and states frame welfare and other policies.
“All chief ministers who have announced that they will not implement NRC in their state must consider to suspend the NPR enumeration as this is a prelude to NRC,” a joint statement by the opposition leaders said. It also said Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s birth anniversary on January 23, and Mahatma Gandhi’s day of martyrdom on January 30, should also be celebrated with gusto to highlight communal amity, in opposition to what the anti-BJP axis called the Modi regime’s blatant bid to create a religious divide.
The call to tap three important days on the ‘nationalism’ calendar within the Republic Day week is intended to differentiate the opposition from government-led celebrations, reflecting the political and social split on CAA-NRC-NPR.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi accused the Modi government of misleading people on CAA and NRC and unleashing “unprecedented turmoil” in the country — a “reign of oppression, spreading hatred and trying to divide people along sectarian lines”.
“The nation has watched in horror at the BJP-orchestrated assault on JNU coming so soon after what happened in Jamia Millia Islamia, BHU, Allahabad University, AMU and other institutions of higher learning in other parts of the country,” Sonia said while addressing opposition leaders.
The gathering also castigated the Centre for failing to steer the country out of the economic morass. “The PM and the home minister have no answers and want to divert the nation’s attention from this grim reality by raising one divisive and polarising issue after another,” Sonia said.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Left leaders Sitaram Yechury and D Raja, JMM leader and Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, LJD chief Sharad Yadav, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party head Upendra Kushwaha, RJD neta Manoj Jha, National Conference neta Hasnain Masoodi, besides Congress veterans Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel and former PM Manmohan Singh were among those who attended the meeting.

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