New Delhi: TMC member Saugata Roy on Wednesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of pursuing an agenda of "persecute and polarise" against Muslims as he attacked the Union government over its citizenship measures, including the CAA.
Speaking in Lok Sabha during the debate on the Motion of Thanks on the President's Address, Roy also cited reports in international media to say that India's reputation has suffered and Modi's global image is being "destroyed".
As he read out a critical piece from the Economist, a weekly, about India's direction under Modi, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said it should not be called a balanced magazine.
It had asked people to vote against the BJP and for the Congress, he said. Roy shot back, asking "which is a balanced magazine, Organiser?" Organiser is a weekly affiliated to the Hindutva
In this context, the TMC member also spoke about writer Aatish Taseer and pointed at Jaishankar to say that he made him a "persona non grata", an apparent reference to the government's decision to revoke his Overseas Citizen of India status.
The opposition has linked the decision to a critical piece he had written about Modi. Roy said Modi and "his Hanuman" are dividing India and asked the government to speak in one voice, as he noted that Home Minister Amit Shah had spoken in the House that the NRC will be implemented, while Modi said later that his government has not discussed the National Register of Citizens exercise.
He also hit out at the BJP for its leaders' controversial statements targeting Shaheen Bagh protestors against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. The President's speech left pressing issues like
"highest rate of unemployment" and "crisis" in economy unaddressed, he said, demanding that reference to Mahatma Gandhi should be removed from the speech.
Gandhi was quoted wrongly by the government to push the CAA, he said. Since Modi came back to power in June last year, he has been following the agenda of "persecute and polarise" and "beat up Muslims", Roy alleged.
TDP's Jayadev Galla spoke against the Andhra Pradesh government's decision to have three state capitals and said the state is on the brink of collapse. His speech drew protests from the members of the YSR Congress, which is in power in the state, as they said the decisions of the assembly cannot be debated in Parliament.
A Raja, who was in the Chair, asked Galla to speak on national issues, saying any decision taken in an assembly cannot be questioned in Parliament.
The BJP's P P Chaudhary hailed the government for the enactment of the CAA, saying it was necessary to give justice to persecuted minorities from neighbouring countries. The government should now work on issues like ban on cow slaughter and uniform civil code, both of which, he noted, are parts of the directive principles of state policy in the Constitution.