CAA 'unconstitutional', govt diverting attention: Sinha
Lucknow: Former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha on Monday said that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was "unconstitutional" and the Modi government will have to shed its "arrogance" on the issue.
"The government with 56-inch chest will have to bend before the people. The Citizenship Amendment Act is against the basic structure of the Constitution. There was no need for this kind of amendment in the citizenship law as the Government already has the power to grant citizenship to anyone. This law cannot be implemented," he said while addressing a press conference along with Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav and Congress leader Shatrughan Sinha.
The former BJP leader also slammed Union Home Minister Amit Shah for saying that the government would not take back CAA and people could do whatever they wanted to.
Sinha also said that as per previous law, India's citizenship could be given to anyone just as it was given to Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi who was born in Italy and singer Adnan Sami who was a Pakistani.
"There was no need to amend the said law on a religious basis. This cannot be implemented. It is the government's duty to reach out to people who have been protesting against the CAA and resolve their problem and create an environment of peace in the country," he said.
Replying to a question, Sinha said that if there was a clash between the Centre and non-BJP ruled states that were refusing to implement CAA, a constitutional crisis would be inevitable.
"How many state governments will the Centre dismiss on this issue? The situation is going to be rather unfortunate. Amit Shah's statement that he would not move an inch on CAA, is not a democratic statement. The remark shows the arrogance of power and a 'policy of suppression'," he said.
He further said that CAA has been implemented in UP when the rules for the law are yet to be framed.
Expressing concerns over the state of the Indian economy, the former Union Finance Minister lambasted the Centre, saying that instead of finding solutions to rising unemployment, agrarian crisis and the declining economic growth, the government was busy using its energies on unnecessary issues.
He said the government could be using these issues to divert people's attention from the "core issues".
Sinha further announced that he was extending his ongoing 'Gandhi Sandesh Yatra' on January 30 as announced earlier. He said that the further programme would be announced soon.
The Gandhi Sandesh Yatra had started in Mumbai on January 9 and was to conclude in Delhi on January 30.
Earlier, in an informal chat with reporters, Sinha, who arrived in Lucknow on Saturday, said that the country's Constitution is in danger as attempts are being made to divide the country on religious lines.
"We are out to spread the message of peace, non violence. The reason we decided to take out a Yatra is because the country's Constitution, its democracy is in danger. There appears to be great unrest. The farmers are unhappy and there are protests everywhere.
"Hatred for each other is growing among the masses and this needs to be checked. In a democracy, each of us has a right to be heard. If the people are unhappy over something the government needs to hear them."
Sinha had begun his peace march with his supporters on January 9 from Mumbai. So far he has covered Rajasthan, Haryana and now Uttar Pradesh.