“Pagal log hai. Kuch bhi kar sakte hai [They are mad people. They can do anything]”, quipped former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha on Monday on the possibility of the Union government enforcing President's rule in the States ruled by Opposition parties if they refused to implement the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) for a long period.
While pointing out the opinion of experts that as per constitutional position, the States could not defy the Centre's law, he said the “full cooperation” of the States was required to implement anything.
Mr. Sinha said if the Centre issued instructions to the State governments to implement the law but theysat on it for say, six months or two years, “the only instrument the government” has is Article 356 of the Constitution, President's rule.
The situation had led to a state of “constitutional crisis”, Mr. Sinha told reporters here at a joint press conference with Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav.
Mr. Sinha, who was in Lucknow as part of his nationwide Gandhi Peace March, slammed the BJP government for not reaching out to people who are “in fear” and protesting against the CAA and proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC).
'Botched up exercise'
Calling the NRC in Assam a “botched up exercise,” he said that despite the experience in the State, Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced on the floor of Parliament that there would be a nationwide NRC, without any estimation of the costs and machinery required for it.
He listed three reasons for opposing the CAA. First, he argued, the CAA went against the “basic structure of the Constitution”. Second, it was not required, he said, arguing that the government already had the power to grant citizenship to anybody it wished as per the original law. Third, the “language used in the law” by the government would make it hard to be implemented. “Maybe, their intent is not to implement it but to mislead people”.
Mr. Sinha accused the BJP of trying to divide people along religious lines. “We are going back to the pre-1947 era”, he said.
Mr. Sinha also spoke out in support of the women protesting against the CAA in several cities, terming these sit-ins “spontaneous”.
For that reason, he claimed, "They [protests] won't be easily suppressed or brought to an end despite the oppression”.