BHOPAL: Even as the Narendra Modi government refuses to back down on Citizenship (Amendment) Act despite protests nationwide, a BJP MLA from Madhya Pradesh has taken a different stand, saying the law was creating a "civil war-like situation in every street".
BJP MLA Narayan Tripathi said though the CAA was not beneficial to the country, the controversial measure would consolidate the saffron party's vote-bank.
“I hail from a rural background and so would talk about my village. People from the two communities have stopped seeing each other and in my village, the Muslims who respected us by greeting Panditji paon lagi (greeted by touching our feet) have stopped even seeing us. Peace and prosperity aren’t possible in any such country, state, district or village where there is internal strife,” said Tripathi on Tuesday.
“We talk about Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam (the world being a family), but if we actually start dividing the country on the basis of religious lines, then this country won’t be able to function properly. Whatever I’m saying, I’m speaking from heart, whether anyone likes it or not,” he added.
Tripathi, the two-time BJP MLA who had represented the same Maihar seat as Samajwadi Party and Congress legislator in the past, said further, “The Constitution declares India a secular state, where division on religious lines isn’t possible. But still, the country is being divided on religious lines. Either we respect the Constitution framed by Dr BR Ambedkar or else tear and throw it away.”
Reacting to the BJP MLA’s open opposition to CAA, the Congress state media in-charge Shobha Oza said: “The MLA has not only exposed the communal agenda of the RSS and the BJP, but has also blown the bugle of revolt against the divisive forces.”
The state BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal, however, tried to downplay the matter, saying, “Let me first make it clear that Narayan Tripathi is in the BJP and will remain with the party. All his doubts pertaining to the CAA will be cleared within the party.”
Importantly, six months back, Tripathi and another BJP MLA Sharad Kol (both formerly with Congress) had voted with the Congress and allied MLAs on the criminal law amendment bill in Vidhan Sabha during July 2019. However, few weeks later, both the legislators had reaffirmed their loyalty to the BJP.
Also, as per news reports, the Maihar MLA Narayan Tripathi’s name figured in the first charge-sheet of the high profile honey trap racket.
Not first MLA in Madhya Pradesh to have spoken contrary to respective party lines over CAA-NRC
Tripathi isn’t the first legislator (from any party) in MP to have publicly spoken on CAA contrary to respective party lines.
A few weeks back, HS Dang the Congress MLA from Suvasra seat of Mandsaur district, who had in the past backed the abrogation of Article 370, also supported the CAA. Further, Rambai Thakur, the firebrand BSP MLA from Pathariya seat of Damoh district was suspended from the party last month following her public utterances praising PM Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah over the CAA.