Politics make for strange bed-fellows it is said. The old adage was proven to be quite true during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB). The CAB seeks to grant eligibility for citizenship to persecuted minorities from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Amidst the protests in Assam, the state unit of the CPI(M) has congratulated the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) for ending its alliance with the BJP in the state. It has urged people to carry on their protests until it is revoked.
Suprakash Talukdar, a CPI(M) member, had said in an interview in December that the Bill will “obliterate the whole character of the Constitution.” He further claimed that the Bill is communal contrary to the secular ethos of the country. Tripura has been hit by violence during protests against the Bill. The BJP has claimed a CPI(M) hand behind it.
The Bill has united parties which have traditionally been arch enemies. The CPI(M) has been supported in its opposition to the Bill by Mamata Banerjee’s TMC. Members from the TMC and CPI(M), along with Congress and Samajwadi party, had recently moved dissent notes to the JPC report on the Bill.
“In Assam, it is a more critical issue. During the Assam visit, the committee even faced demonstration. On behalf of the committee, we promised to visit the state again, to talk to more stakeholders about the issue and also assured them that unless we meet again we won’t submit the report. Now, it’s embarrassing,” stated a member from the Left as quoted by The Hindu. “We feel that no names of genuine Indian citizens should have been deleted. We also strongly feel that the bill should not be passed by the sheer majority since this is a political effort not necessitated by political realities in Assam and West Bengal,” the TMC stated in its own note.
In Assam, the Congress party and the Left Democratic Front (LDF) stand against the Bill. The TMC, along with the Congress, staged a walkout during the discussion on the Bill. Traditionally, these parties have been each at other’s throats. However, desperate times call for desperate times and they appear to have come together for this one issue.
The convergence of opinion between the arch enemies shows that Opposition parties stand united in their opposition to granting citizenship to persecuted minorities from neighbouring countries plagued by Islamic extremism, the majority of whom are Hindus.