BSP chief Mayawati on Wednesday urged the Centre to withdraw the amended citizenship law and seek consensus to bring in a new one, even as she lashed out at both BJP and Congress for being “two sides of the same coin”. She accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre of not taking others into confidence before bringing in the Citizen Amendment Bill (CAB). “That’s why, there is an in outcry the country,” Mayawati told reporters at a press conference here on her 64th birthday.
“The BSP had been repeatedly urging the Centre to first send the CAB to the Standing Committee, so that it becomes an absolutely correct law,” she said. Accusing the Centre of stubbornness, she said the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) at first glance appears to be divisive and unconstitutional. Mayawati accused the BJP and the opposition Congress of playing “dirty politics”.
“For the past some time, political parties are accusing each other of spreading lies and indulging in dirty politics, in which the BJP and the Congress are ahead of the others,” she said.
“Our party does not indulge in dirty politics on the basis of lies. I am saying this today as on the foundation day of the Congress last month, it was said that barring the Congress, other opposition parties in UP are not raising their voice against the NRC and the CAA,” Mayawati said, also referring to the criticism of the National Register of Citizens.
“This is a baseless allegation as, when the Union Cabinet approved the CAB, I was the first to register a protest. At that time, the Congress and most other parties were silent on it. Their silence was broken when the Bill was tabled in Parliament,” she said. “Our party opposed it in both Houses of Parliament,” she added.
The amended law allows an easier route to citizenship for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Parsis and Jains who entered India from three neighbouring countries before 2015 after facing religious persecution.
Muslims don’t figure in the list. “It is not that Muslims in neighbouring countries, including Pakistan, are not oppressed by their governments. Crime and atrocities can happen against anyone. Hence, the Centre should reconsider the CAA, withdraw it, and bring a new law after consensus,” Mayawati said.
She called the BSP a disciplined party which holds peaceful protests only after taking permission from the authorities. “It does not indulge in dirty politics like other political parties. Strong action is initiated on anyone going against the party line on this issue,” she said, in an apparent distancing from the street protests in Uttar Pradesh over the CAA.
The BSP leader claimed there is an atmosphere of fear and tension, adding that the country faced a similar situation during the Congress rule. “The current BJP government, like the Congress, is misusing its power for its personal and political interest, and it seems that the country’s democracy and the constitutional system are under pressure,” she said.
“Today our country is in the headlines for wrong and negative reasons. This is an issue of national concern,” she said. “The Congress party and Company are trying to derive political mileage by taking advantage of the failure of the BJP government,” she said.
“When the central government does not function by the values enshrined in the Constitution, then the most sorrow is faced by the Dalits, tribals, backward classes, Muslims and other religious minorities,” she added. “Our party considers the BJP and Congress as two sides of the same coin,” she said.
“In the current regime of the BJP-led central government, poverty, unemployment, anarchy, violence and tension have exceeded that during the Congress party,” she said. “The Congress does not have the moral right to criticise the BJP,” she added.
“The people of the country have punished the Congress for its wrongdoing, and it is for this reason that the BJP came to power. But if BJP’s central government follows the pattern of the Congress government, its condition will be worse,” she said. The BSP chief released the English and Hindi editions of her memoirs.