Congress leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram addresses students at JNU in New Delhi on Thursday. (Express photo by Tashi Tobgyal)
Stating that the BJP is deliberately misleading the people and "lying" that opposition parties are against giving citizenship to minorities from neighbouring countries, Rajya Sabha member and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Thursday said they are, in fact, against exclusion, not inclusion.
Chidambaram also said the BJP-led Union government brought in the Citizen (Amendment) Act (CAA) following the “fiasco” in Assam due to the implementation of National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Delivering a lecture on “CAA, NRC, NPR: Its implications on Indian society”, organised by NSUI, the Congress’s students’ wing, at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, Chidambaram said, “Show me any place where any member of the Congress, or the CPI (or) CPI(M) has given a statement against giving citizenship (to religious minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan). Our opposition is against exclusion, not inclusion. Our demand is to include all neighbours and all categories.”
He said what India needs today is “not amendment to citizenship law but a law on refugees”.
In Assam, he pointed out, more than 19 lakh people were found excluded from the NRC list. He said: “What made it even more difficult for them (BJP) was that broadly 12 lakh (of those excluded) were Hindus and 7 lakh (were) Muslims.... The project was floundering, because what do you do with the 12 lakh Hindus? Therefore they thought about CAA. The only way to get out of the Assam fiasco was to make a law by which the Hindus will be allowed to stay and Muslims will be forced to move.”
“They want the 12 lakh Hindus to come (stay in India) and the 7 lakh Muslims to go out," he said.
Asked by a student why the Congress is not leading the protests against CAA, Chidambaram said, “This is totally wrong. I have participated in Congress protests and meetings at several places. We are not going to Shaheen Bagh because that way we will fall into the BJP’s trap. If you go there, and visibly stand there in Shaheen Bagh, they (BJP) will say this is political.”
He also asked students and the youth to make space for alternative politics. “We (Congress) cannot become an alternative unless thousands of young people support an alternative. It may be CPI, it may be CPI(M), it may be AAP, it may be DMK...but unless the next generation comes out and supports the alternative, the alternative will not succeed,” he said.