PM should select 5 critics, hold televised Q&A session on CAA with them: Chidambaram

Amid widespread protests over the amended Citizenship Act across the country, Congress leader P
Chidambaram today offered a “suggestion” to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a series of tweets, a
day after PM Modi said that the new law will not “snatch anyone’s citizenship”. PM Modi should “select
five of his most articulate critics” and “have a televised Q and A session with them”, the Congress
leader said.
On Sunday, PM Modi invoked Mahatma Gandhi while referring to the new law that makes religion test
for citizenship for the first time in the history of the country. “The citizenship law is not to snatch
(anyone’s) citizenship, but to give citizenship. After independence, Mahatma Gandhi ji and other big
leaders of the time all believed that India should give citizenship to persecuted religious minorities of
Pakistan,” he said on the second day of his Kolkata visit.
In a series of tweets, P Chidambaram today attacked PM over his Sunday’s address said that he “talks
from high platforms to silent audiences and does not take questions.” “PM says that CAA is meant to
give citizenship, not take it away. Many of us believe that CAA (in conjunction with NPR or NRC) will
declare many persons as “non-citizens” and take away citizenship,” he wrote in another post.
The 74-year-old Congress leader, who is out on bail in the INX media case, then offered a “suggestion”
to PM Modi. “The only way out is for the PM to select five of his most articulate critics and have a
televised Q and A session with them. Let the people listen to the discussion and reach their
conclusions on CAA,” he tweeted.
“I sincerely hope PM will respond favourably to this suggestion,” he further wrote.
Mr Chidambaram’s remarks comes days after the Congress Working Committee or CWC – the top
decision-making body of the party – passed a resolution against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act
(CAA). “The CAA is a discriminatory and divisive law. The sinister purpose of the law is clear to every
patriotic, tolerant and secular Indian: it is to divide the Indian people on religious lines,” Congress chief
Sonia Gandhi said at the meet.
Massive protests have been held over the past few weeks against the citizenship law. The law, along
with a National Register for Citizens (NRC) to identify illegal immigrants, will be used to target
Muslims, feel protesters that include activists, politicians and many celebrities.
The government says the citizenship law will help non-Muslim minorities from three Muslim-dominated
countries – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh – to become Indian citizens easily if they fled to India
before 2015 because of religious persecution.
Today, opposition parties will hold a meet in the backdrop of the student protests and the contentious
citizenship law and the citizenship list NRC.