The Indian National Congress (INC) is failing to bring together opposition parties to pressure the ruling BJP on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and JNU violence. On the initiative of INC president Sonia Gandhi, while opposition parties were supposed to meet in Delhi today, many of them, one by one, are distancing themselves from the congregation.
All eyes are on the INC’s new partner Shiv Sena, which formed the government in Maharashtra with the INC and NCP, breaking its old alliance with the BJP.
Today, Mayawati, the head of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), a dominant political party of the country’s largest state Uttar Pradesh, announced that her party was not participating in the INC initiative. Soon thereafter, Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) decided to keep away from the meeting. West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) head Mamata Banerjee has not only decided to abstain from the meeting but also expressed deep resentment by accusing the INC and Left parties of indulging in violence during CAA demonstrations.
Banerjee, who has established herself as an outspoken voice against the Narendra Modi government, questioned the relevance of the meeting after she announced she was not attending it.
Like Banerjee, Mayawati targeted the INC fiercely before the meeting. In a tweet, Mayawati wrote, “As is well known, despite the outside support of the BSP to the INC government in Rajasthan, they have for the second time broken up and added the BSP MLAs to their party, which is completely unfaithful. In such a situation, BSP’s participation in the meeting called by the opposition under the leadership of the INC will be demoralising the party in Rajasthan. Therefore, BSP will not attend their meeting.”
In another tweet, Mayawati said, “Anyway, BSP is against CAA, NRC etc. Politicising students in JNU and other educational institutions is also unfortunate. There is again an appeal to the union government to withdraw this divisive and unconstitutional law.”
Earlier, Banerjee had alleged that the INC and left parties were doing dirty politics in West Bengal. She said that she would oppose the CAA and NRC on her own. The West Bengal chief minister had said in the state assembly on Thursday last week that, if needed, she would proceed on the issue of CAA on her own. In the House, she had announced a boycott of the meeting of opposition parties convened by the INC president on 13 January against violence on university campuses and the CAA.
Even earlier, criticising the violence during Bharat Bandh, Banerjee had accused the left and Congress of adopting double standards. Otherwise, she has been vocal against the CAA and NRC and is fiercely demonstrating against it. She herself is taking part in rallies against the CAA.
The meeting will be held at 2 PM in Parliament House. The INC sent an invitation to all ‘like-minded’ parties to come on a common platform. INC sources said they were confident that all opposition parties would attend the meeting. Samajwadi Party (SP) and new alliance partner Shiv Sena may attend the meeting.
The Congress Working Committee (CWC) has already demanded the withdrawal of the CAA and the National Population Register (NPR), much as the latter has been a mandatory exercise under all governments before the census of every decade. INC-ruled states, under the instruction of Sonia Gandhi, are going to adopt this resolution as soon as the CWC clarifies its stand on this issue.
The CWC, after passing a resolution in a meeting on Saturday, said, “The Narendra Modi-led central government has adopted cruelty to suppress, subjugate or oppress the youth and students across the country.”