Poor will again have to stand in line: Congress
The Congress appears to be building its campaign against the CAA-NRC around the poor, with Rahul Gandhi on Friday drawing a parallel with demonetisation to argue that the underprivileged sections will again be the worst sufferers.
“Like demonetisation, NRC or NPR are also a tax on the poor. Demonetisation burdened the poor the most — they suffered the most owing to industrial shutdowns and job losses. They will now have to stand in line and bribe officials to arrange for documents,” Rahul told a rally in Raipur.
“They are worried about livelihood, there are no jobs, but they will have to again stand in line and prove their citizenship. The same happened during notebandi, money was snatched from them and given to the rich. What did the poor get?”
In her video address to the nation last Saturday, assuring Indians that the Congress would fight for their fundamental rights, Congress president Sonia Gandhi too had noted that the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) “will particularly hurt the poor and vulnerable. Like at the time of notebandi, they will have to stand in line to prove their and their ancestors’ citizenship”.
On Friday, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot said in Jaipur: “Rs 1,600 crore was spent on NRC in Assam and what we got is 19 lakh doubtful citizens. Most of them are poor. The entire Assam is in distress; now the whole country will be put through the same distress, same misery. People of Assam suffered the worst kinds of miseries; now the entire country is being sought to put through similar suffering. The people’s uprising shows the country has understands this reality.”
Gehlot added: “The Prime Minister is talking as if there is no possibility of NRC and the home minister is shouting from the rooftop that NRC will be implemented in the entire country. What is happening in this country? The Prime Minister needs to come upfront and unambiguously announce that the NRC will not be implemented.”
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been repeatedly saying this exercise will torment the poor the most.
While the Congress has repeatedly said that the CAA-NRC combine is an assault on the soul of India and violates the spirit of Constitution, by focusing its campaign on the poor the party hopes to guard against possible attempts to polarise people on religious lines.
The party on Friday posted several messages on its official Twitter handle, arguing that the Narendra Modi government was administering a slow death to democracy. Referring to the Internet shutdown and rampant police crackdown, the party said: “What was done in Kashmir is now being done in Uttar Pradesh.”
The Congress will dedicate its foundation tomorrow to a protest against CAA-NRC, holding “Save Constitution Save India” rallies in every state. Flag marches carrying the message of “Save Constitution-Save India” will be undertaken in all major centres. Party leaders will also read the Preamble of the Constitution at public meetings.
While Rahul will lead the march in Guwahati, other senior leaders have been deputed for different states. Priyanka will be in Lucknow.