Bhubaneswar: The opposition Congress in Odisha hit out at the ruling Biju Janata Dal over Home Minister Amit Shah’s proposed pro-Citizenship (Amendment) Act rally in the state capital and asked Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to make his government and party’s stand clear on the contentious law.
Shah will be on a two-day visit to Odisha from February 28 during which he is slated to address a pro-CAA public meeting.
Raising the issue in the Legislative Assembly during Zero Hour, Congress MLA S S Saluja said, “Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MPs supported CAA in both Houses of Parliament. But the chief minister after meeting a delegation of the minority community in Bhubaneswar, had said the state will not support the National Register of Citizens (NRC).”
This “change of stance” was creating confusion among the people, he said and sought to know whether the BJD leaders would also join Shah in the proposed pro-CAA rally or keep distance from it.
Saluja said the state government should have taken the people, who voted the BJD to power in the state five times in a row, into confidence before supporting the bill to amend the Citizenship Act.
Amid criticism over the BJD’s support to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Parliament, Patnaik had in December assured Muslim and Christian community members that he was not in favour of a nationwide NRC implementation.
Saluja, who belongs to the Sikh community, said the people of Odisha live peacefully and believe in brotherhood.
“We live in Lord Jagannath’s land where all communities are equal. We do not want a Delhi-like atmosphere in Bhubaneswar or Odisha. The state’s communal harmony should not be disturbed at any cost,” he said.
Delhi has been witnessing frequent protest on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act issue.
Alleging that the “bonhomie” between the BJD and the BJP was no more a secret, the Congress legislator said, “They (BJP) had only 23 MLAs, still they got elected one member to Rajya Sabha with the help of the BJD.”
Last year, Patnaik had announced BJD’s support to the BJP’s Rajya Sabha candidate and former bureaucrat Ashwini Vaishnav.