Ahmedabad: The Gujarat BJP on Wednesday attacked the Congress over the visit of its two MLAs from the state to New Delhi's Shaheen Bagh, the site of a long-running anti-CAA protest, and sought to know if the opposition party supports people "who talk about dividing the country".
The ruling party said it was "shameful" for the Congress to back anti-national protesters sitting illegally and unconstitutionally on a dharna in the national capital. Congress MLA Imran Khedawala, who visited Shaheen Bagh along with his party colleague and legislator Gyasuddin Shaikh on Tuesday, defended the move.
Khedawala said the locality is not in Pakistan and is very much a part of Delhi, and there was nothing wrong in joining people sitting on a protest to "save" the Constitution.
However, the BJP slammed the Congress over the visit to the protest site by its MLAs. Congress MLAs visiting Shaheen Bagh is a matter of shame for Gujarat. The Gujarat Congress announces that it is with the anti-nationals of Shaheen Bagh.
"Does the Congress support people who talk about dividing the country? state BJP president Jitu Vaghani said while talking to reporters in Bhavnagar.
Further attacking the Sonia Gandhi-led party, he said the Congress is engaging in politics of votebank and appeasement. In its bid to take on the BJP, it has started opposing the country itself by supporting anti-national forces.
Back from Delhi, Khedawala defended the Shaheen Bagh protesters. The scene (in Shaheen Bagh) was unprecedented. We saw people holding the tricolour in one hand and the Constitution
in the other. They were shouting slogans calling for unity among members of all communities," the Congress lawmaker said.
We went to Shaheen Bagh. It is not in Pakistan...it is very much a part of Delhi...is located at the centre of the city.
"People of all communities are sitting there with the aim to save the Constitution...there is nothing wrong in going there, said the MLA from Jamalpur-Khadia in Ahmedabad district who is also a local corporator.
Khedawala also faced the ire of BJP corporators at the general board meeting of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation on Wednesday.
BJP corporators staged a walkout from the meeting while shouting slogans and waving placards in support of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
The state Congress defended its MLAs. "Khedawala and Gyasuddin Shaikh visited Shaheen Bagh yesterday. People from all walks of life and from different communities are visiting Shaheen Bagh in large numbers.
"The place is in India and not Pakistan, so why should visiting there become such an issue? The BJPs politics is to divert people's attention from real issues, state Congress spokesperson Badruddin Sheikh said.
Shaheen Bagh, a neighbourhood in South Delhi district, is witnessing a dharna against the CAA for over a month now. The new citizenship law, passed by Parliament and approved by the President last month, has triggered massive protests across the country.
It promises Indian citizenship to persecuted non- Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. CAA's critics say the law is discriminatory and violates the core values of the Constitution.