Much to the surprise of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Bahujan Samajwadi Party chief Mayawati accepted his challenge for a debate on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act on Wednesday and said that her party was ready for a debate on the new citizenship law on any public forum.
Addressing a rally in support of the CAA in Lucknow on Tuesday, Shah had dared opposition party leaders for a debate with him on the CAA on a public platform.
“The BSP is ready to accept the challenge thrown by the Central government, which is troubled by organised struggle and agitation all across the country against the controversial CAA /NRC/NPR. We are ready for a debate on the issue on any platform and anywhere,” Mayawati said in a tweet in Hindi.
Interestingly, the BSP formed Mayawati-led government thrice with the support of Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttar Pradesh.
As per the CAA, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 to escape religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal migrants but given Indian citizenship. It does not include Muslims.
Those opposing the CAA contend that it discriminates on the basis of religion and violates the Indian Constitution. They also allege that the CAA along with National Register of Citizens (NRC) is intended to target the Muslims in India.
However, the Central government has dismissed the charges, maintaining that the law is intended to give citizenship to persecuted minorities from the three neighbouring countries and not to take away anyone’s citizenship.