“The BJP has said it will bring the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 if it comes to power. But we are against it. We are not going to allow this Bill. It is against the interests of the people of northeast. We will scrap it forever,” said Gandhi at a public rally in the Arunachal Pradesh capital.
The Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, failed to get it cleared by the Rajya Sabha due to opposition by some of its own allies.
BJP President Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have defended the Bill and have said their party would revive it on return to power.
The Congress chief also promised to restore the special category status of northeastern states. “Some states require special status due to unique issues of connectivity, terrain and infrastructure. We will restore the special category status of Arunachal Pradesh and other northeastern states,” said Gandhi.
Launching a scathing attack on the BJP, he said the RSS and the BJP wanted to push one political, cultural ideology and one thought process across the country, thereby destroying the unique cultural heritage and history of northeast.
“Just look at universities of the country. Merit is no longer the criteria to select the vice-chancellors. The determining criteria is their proximity to the RSS. The Planning Commission was replaced by the Niti Aayog, no one knows what this Aayog does,” Gandhi said.
Slamming the five years of the National Democratic Alliance government, he said, “Prime Minister Modi wants a Congress-free India. Just see how much hatred he has in his heart. We do not want to spread hatred. We don’t want to destroy the BJP and the RSS. But we will not allow them to impose their ideology on people.”
Accusing the BJP of politicising the martyrs’ sacrifice, Gandhi said, “Modiji talks about patriotism, but he was busy in shooting (film) for over 3 hours after the Pulwama attack took place.”
“Before that, a few years ago, when the Chinese President came to India and Modiji was sitting with him in Gujarat, the Chinese army entered Doklam. But Modiji did not utter a word. On the contrary, he went to China after that without any agenda. This is Modi’s patriotism,” Gandhi said.
Criticising death of three people in February during protests against grant of permanent residence certificate (PRC) to the non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribal (APST) communities of Namsai and Changlang districts, he said why the government didn’t talk to the agitators.
Large-scale violence against PRCs had resulted in death of three youths and a huge loss of public and private properties.