Twitter battle between Rahul Gandhi and Himanta Biswa Sarma over Citizenship Bill
A war of words broke out on Twitter between Congress president Rahul Gandhi and senior Assam BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma over the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
There have been widespread protests in the northeast against the Citizenship Bill that seeks to confer citizenship on non-Muslim religious groups from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Rahul Gandhi alleged that the BJP was trying to polarise the region for political gain. “I am disturbed by the growing violence and unrest in the N East where religion & ethnicity are being used as weapons by the BJP to polarise the region for political gain. This type of politics, that pitches brother against brother & fans hatred, is evil & must be stopped,” he tweeted.
Himanta Biswa Sarma, a former Congress leader who joined the BJP in 2015, hit back saying that it was the Congress which had “strangulated the Northeast” for decades.
“Dear @Rahul Gandhi~Perplexed by your anxiety. Are you aware how @INC India has strangulated NE for decades? Don’t give value judgements. We’re talking to people to address genuine concerns. Some fake protestors, with bare or no support, are withering away. Rest assured, NE is safe!” Sarma tweeted
The Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha in the Parliament’s winter session of Parliament, but was stalled in the Rajya Sabha. Voting on it is expected in the Rajya Sabha during the budget session beginning January 31. There’s fear in the Northeast that passage of the Bill could lead to large scale migration from Bangladesh and affect indigenous populations.
The Bill has sparked protests across much of the Northeast and spurred the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) to walk of the BJP-led government in Assam last month.
Last week, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav rushed to Assam after five MLAs of the ruling party in Assam openly voiced their opposition to the Bill as it would violate provisions of the Assam Accord, signed in 1985 after a six-year agitation against illegal immigrants.