Opposition leaders ask President to intervene

The Asian Age.

India, All India

The parties that met the President included the Congress, Trinamul Congress, Samajwadi Party, CPI(M), CPI and RJD.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi with senior party leaders and other Opposition leaders after meeting President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Tuesday. (Pritam bandyopadhyay)

New Delhi: The Opposition parties on Tuesday kept up the pressure against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and National Register of Citizens with a delegation of leaders, led by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, meeting President Ram Nath Kovind on the issue. They also urged him to intervene over the violence at Central universities.

The parties that met the President included the Congress, Trinamul Congress, Samajwadi Party, CPI(M), CPI and RJD. These parties gave a memorandum to the President pointing out how the government was in a hurry to enact the law. However, the Shiv Sena, the Congress’ alliance partners in Maharashtra, was not part of the delegation. The BSP too said that its MPs from both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha would meet the President separately on Wednesday.

Mrs Gandhi accused the Narendra Modi government of “shutting down” people’s voices and bringing laws that were not acceptable to them. “All of us, representatives of 12 different political parties, have met the President to plead with him to intervene over the Northeast situation, which was now spreading across the country, including in the national capital at Jamia Millia Islamia, because of the act. It is a very serious situation. We fear that t may spread even further. We are anguished at the manner in which the police have dealt with peaceful demonstrations across India,” she said
after the meeting.

The Congress president said the police entered women’s hostels in Jamia Millia Islamia and mercilessly beaten up students. “They mercilessly beat the students who were demonstrating, which is their democratic right, as is ours,” she said.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the President was the custodian of the Constitution and thus the Opposition said “he cannot allow his government to violate the Constitution in this brazen manner. We urged him to advise the government to withdraw this law”.

Trinamul Congress Rajya Sabha member Derek O’Brien said: “We have asked the President to please advise the government to withdraw this diabolical, divisive act. This act will affect the poorest of the poor.”

Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said there were around 14-15 parties which were to come, but the leaders of some parties could not come. “They are with us,” he added.

In Kolkata, West Bengal chief minister and Trinamul Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee undertook a second march on Tuesday against the CAA and NRC and said that attire does not determine one’s political views. It may be recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said at an election meeting in Jharkhand that one could make out who were fanning the protests by their clothes.

In Bihar, Jan Adhikar Party president Pappu Yadav said he had been put under house arrest to prevent him from protesting against the NRC and CAA. “I have been put under house arrest. The inspector of three police stations and a city magistrate are camping here (in my house). Section 107 CrPC has been invoked,” the former MP from Madhepura said in a tweet. The police, however, denied this.

Actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan said in Chennai that his party was opposed to the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens. The ruling AIADMK’s support to the CAA in Parliament was a betrayal of Tamils and the nation, he added.