Feud escalates between Kerala's CPI(M) and Congress over role in opposing CAA

The ongoing dispute between the ruling CPI(M) and the opposition Congress in Kerala, both constituents of the INDIA bloc, regarding their respective roles in opposing the Centre's citizenship law, escalated on Friday.
UDF and LDF feud on CAA
UDF and LDF feud on CAA

Thiruvananthapuram | The ongoing dispute between the ruling CPI(M) and the opposition Congress in Kerala, both constituents of the INDIA bloc, regarding their respective roles in opposing the Centre's citizenship law, escalated on Friday.

While Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly V D Satheesan accused the CPI(M) of spreading falsehoods amid the escalating feud, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan questioned why the grand old party allegedly withdrew from the joint protest against the controversial law.

Referring to the CM's statements at a press conference on Thursday, Satheesan said the Marxist veteran was spreading lies that the Congress did not protest against the contentious CAA right from the start.

He also accused the CM of being intolerant and said that the UDF will not be part of any joint protest with the CPI(M).

Yesterday, the chief minister had alleged that the Congress and its National President Mallikarjun Kharge were yet to comment on the recent notification of the CAA's rules.

"On the other hand, Rahul Gandhi, who is on the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, has not even pretended to have heard about it," Vijayan had said.

Denying the allegations, Satheesan said that the Congress, including its leaders from Kerala, had right from the beginning opposed the CAA in Parliament, and that there were media reports to prove it.

The opposition leader also said that Rahul Gandhi's stand against the CAA was widely reported in the national media and he is the one who has been clashing with the RSS. That is why there are 16 cases lodged against him by the Sangh Parivar in 12 states, Satheesan said and questioned which CPI(M) leader has taken the RSS head-on like Rahul Gandhi has.

Satheesan also alleged that the CM's claim in the press conference that over 600 cases against those who participated in the anti-CAA protests were disposed of, was incorrect.

He contended that in reply to a query five months ago in the state assembly, the chief minister had said that a no-objection was given for withdrawing 63 cases only and that a charge sheet has been filed in 573 cases.

Many of the accused in those cases have paid lakhs of rupees as fines, Satheesan claimed and questioned on what basis the CM could say that over 600 cases were disposed of.

The opposition leader alleged that it was to please the BJP that the CPI(M) was speaking against Rahul Gandhi and the Congress and was not withdrawing the cases.

Later in the day, Vijayan, in a statement, questioned why the Congress's national leadership has not officially commented on the implementation of CAA and why the AICC President allegedly dodged queries from the media on the issue.

The CM, in the statement issued by his office, also questioned where Rahul Gandhi was when protests erupted against the CAA in December 2019 and why he didn’t attend Parliament and state his opinion when the contentious bill was tabled for discussion, and also after that.

"Wasn't the Congress bidding to weaken the struggle against the CAA by unilaterally withdrawing themselves from the joint protests against it in Kerala?

"Whom were the Congress trying to appease by wielding the sword of discipline against the local Congress leaders of Kerala who had taken part in the protests against the CAA," the Marxist veteran asked.

The CAA was passed in December 2019 and subsequently got the President's assent, but there were protests in several parts of the country against it, with many opposition parties speaking out against the law, calling it "discriminatory".

The Act grants citizenship to undocumented migrants of all religions -- except Muslims -- from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who arrived in India before December 31, 2014.

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