[1/13, 20:45] Sekarreporter 1: Opposition appeals to non-BJP CMs to suspend enumeration of NPR: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/opposition-leaders-meet-marred-by-notable-absences/article30557235.ece
[1/13, 20:45] Sekarreporter 1: In a joint statement, the leaders also appealed to citizens to come out in large numbers to protect the spirit of the Indian Constitution on January 23, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’ birth anniversary, undertake mass readings of the Preamble on January 26 and remember the sacrifices made by Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, the anniversary of his martyrdom.
“The CAA [Citizenship Amendment Act], NPR and NRC is a package that is unconstitutional, which specifically targets the poor, the downtrodden, the SC/STs and the linguistic & religious minorities. The NPR is the basis for the NRC. We demand the withdrawal of the CAA and the immediate stoppage of the nationwide NRC/NPR. All the 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,” read the statement.
Presiding over a meeting of Opposition parties, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, in her opening remarks, accused the Union government of “letting loose a reign of oppression, spreading hatred and dividing people on religious lines”. She alleged that the country’s economy was facing an imminent collapse but Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah were trying to divert attention from it by focussing on polarizing issues.
“The real issue facing India today is the collapse of economic activity and slowing growth and development, affecting all sections of society, especially the poor and disadvantaged. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister have no answers and want to divert the nation’s attention from this grim reality by raising one divisive and polarizing issue after another,” she said.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said, “I challenge the Prime Minister to go to any university and speak to students without security and tell them about how he plans to fix the economy and how he plans to provide jobs to students and youth of this country.”
The meet was to formulate a common strategy to carry forward the protests against the CAA, NRC, NPR and the violence against students in different campuses, continuing restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir and the state of the economy.
But more than a common strategy and the parties in attendance, the notable absentees seem to have become a talking point.
The Congress’ all weather ally, the Dravida Munetra Kazagham (DMK) surprised everyone by boycotting the meet as it was upset over a reported remark by a Tamil Nadu Congress leader.
The Congress’ new ally, the Shiv Sena, talked of a ‘miscommunication’ to explain its absence.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) too didn’t attend even though it was part of the Congress-led delegation to President Ram Nath Kovind to protest against police action on students of Jamia Millia Islamia.
West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee did not send any representative, and gave the meeting a miss.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati skipping the event was also on predictable lines.
Owing to Assembly elections in Delhi in less in three weeks, the Aam Admi Party (AAP) too did not attend the meeting. In a triangular contest, the Congress is the second main contender apart from the BJP in the coming Delhi polls.
“We are all one on the issues,” said Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress, playing down the differences between Opposition parties.
Apart from top Congress leaders like former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Mr. Gandhi, Mr. Azad, Ahmed Patel and K.C. Venugopal, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and its leader Praful Patel, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, CPI’s D. Raja, RLD’s Ajit Singh and RJD’s Manoj Jha were in attendance.