New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday termed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill an “attempt to ethnically cleanse the North East” hours before the Rajya Sabha debates the contentious legislation.
Taking to Twitter, Gandhi said: "The CAB is an attempt by Modi-Shah Govt to ethnically cleanse the North East. It is a criminal attack on the North East, their way of life and the idea of India. I stand in solidarity with the people of the North East and am at their service.”
The Congress has been critical of the bill, with party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra too saying “India's tryst with bigotry and narrow minded exclusion” was confirmed as the bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday.
“Last night at midnight, India's tryst with bigotry and narrow minded exclusion was confirmed as the CAB was passed in the Lok Sabha. Our forefathers gave their lifeblood for our freedom,” she said in a tweet, recalling her great-grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru's speech on the midnight of August 14-15, 1947, when India rang in its Independence.
"Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom," Nehru had said in the opening lines of a speech believed to be among the greatest in the 20th century.
On Wednesday, just ahead of the debate on the contentious legislation in the Rajya Sabha, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the BJP was just interested in keeping the country divided on religious lines. “There are about 13 like-minded parties in the Rajya Sabha... I have met them and they will all vote against CAB Bill.
“The government does not want to address concerns around the economy and issue of price rise. BJP is only interested in keeping the country divided on the lines of religion. Abrogation of Article 370 and Triple Talaq Bill are other examples. This just proves that the BJP has no respect for the Constitution,” Azad said.