Ever since the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has been passed by the Parliament, the Congress party has resorted to bizarre and inconsistent claims over time. The story became murky when prominent Congress leaders shifted from one rhetoric to the other.
The distinct narratives peddled by these Congress loyalists often contradicted each other and thus left the people hanging in the balance to figure out the party’s official stand on its own. One thing, however, remained common in their various statements – the attempt to club NRC (National Register of Citizens) and NPR (National Population Register) with CAA.
Here is a brief timeline of the various stances:
CAA is anti- Muslim
This claim was made immediately after CAA was passed in the Parliament. Speaking at the Kerala Literature Festival, Shashi Tharoor said that NPR will compel Muslims to prove their nationality by producing documents. A similar attempt to create hysteria among the Muslim community was made by Rahul Gandhi. It prompted Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, to challenge Rahul Gandhi to prove that CAA is “Anti-Muslim.”
CAA is anti-poor
The Anti- Muslim rhetoric soon changed to Anti-poor rhetoric. The Indian National Congress found itself in a state of dilemma while trying to defend Islamist mobs. It needed a course-correction. Rahul Gandhi, former President of the Congress, compared NRC and NPR to “demonetization” and claimed the exercise was a “tax on the poor”.
No implementation of CAA in the Congress-ruled States
Ashok Gehlot, the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, had stated that NRC and CAA will not be implemented in Rajasthan. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath was also quick to jump on the Anti-CAA bandwagon. He reiterated that CAA is “anti-people” and that the law shall not be implemented in MP. He also claimed that the BJP has displayed its real intentions by clubbing “NRC and NPR” together.
Captain Amarinder Singh even passed a resolution in the Punjab State Assembly, contending that the law spoilt the secular fabric of the country. He had earlier said that the Centre cannot force him to implement “divisive CAA” in Punjab.
States cannot stop implementation of CAA
While speaking at the Kerela Literature Festival, Congress leader and lawyer Kapil Sibal categorically stated that States do not have the power to stop implementation of a law that has been passed by the Parliament. His comments directly contradicted the rigid stance that the CMs of the Congress-ruled States had assumed.
Sibal’s views were also shared by Congress old guard, Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Monday. He stated that a State cannot say no to a law passed by the Parliament from a Constitutional perspective. Hooda, however, said that the law can always be challenged in a Court of law.
NPR is good or bad depending on who’s in power
NPR is not being created by the Modi Government for the first time. It was prepared in 2010-2011 along with the Census by the then UPA government.
However, when the current political dispensation decided to repeat this exercise, Digvijaya Singh, former Chief Minister of MP, realised that NPR is “unconstitutional”. It begs a simple question: Was NPR conducted in 2011 constitutional or unconstitutional? If it was within the limits of the law in 2011, then, a change of government cannot make the very exercise illegal.
Digvijaya Singh: We’re against CAA, NRC, NPR. These are against constitution.We’re against centre’s divisive policy. No one has the right to ask for proof of citizenship from people who chose to live here.I was asked to deliver a speech but I refused as it’s not a political stage https://t.co/MxioWcPipb pic.twitter.com/LECyKHt4g8
— ANI (@ANI) January 20, 2020
NPR is a part of the regular census and no individual has to furnish documents separately for the same. As for a nationwide NRC, no formal proposal has yet been laid down by the Government. CAA does not undermine the citizenship of any Indian Muslim. It also does not give a free pass to anyone currently residing in the Islamic Republics of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. Plus, Article 245 and 256 empowers the Central Government to ensure compliance of laws by the State Governments
Despite these hard-hitting facts, the Congress party and its leaders did not back down from rumour-mongering and casting aspersions on CAA, NRC, and NPR.