10 Jan 2020
Goa Congress leader calls CAA 'good law', defies party's stand
A Congress leader from Goa has called the Citizenship Amendment Act a good law, contradictory to the stand his party has taken.
Making a case for the law, John Fernandes, a former parliamentarian and ex-president of the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC), suggested Bills passed in Parliament shouldn't be opposed on streets.
He didn't swipe right on widespread protests either.
Here are more details.
What is Congress' stand on CAA?
Congress opposed the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in the Parliament, questioning Home Minister Amit Shah why Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, won't get preferential treatment when applying for Indian citizenship.
After CAA sparked protests across India, Congress too grabbed the opportunity.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra met victims of police brutality in Uttar Pradesh and promised to stand by them.
Fernandes reminded law was passed in Parliament
The party which is milking the anger against CAA must certainly not have imagined an insider would slam its stand.
Fernandes, who headed Congress in the state till 2013, made the stunning remarks at a gathering in Panaji.
He said, "When a law is passed by Parliament, no one should be instigated by the opposition to say anything against it on the streets."
He also called protests against CAA inappropriate
"I don't think it is appropriate, what is going on. I know how it started. It started at Jamia Millia Islamia, I was a director to that board and I know how it was functioning, therefore, I resigned from that board," he went on.
Belong to one party but can have opinion: Fernandes
Fernandes also advised Pakistan to not speak on matters like Article 370 (whose abrogation stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its special status) and CAA.
"It is not for people across the border to dictate us terms about laws passed by our Parliament, (sic)" he said.
The leader underlined he belonged to a certain party but was entitled to his personal views.
Congress will be meeting like-minded parties to discuss CAA
Fernandes' remarks serve as a setback to Congress, which has been slamming CAA. On January 13, Congress has convened a meeting of like-minded parties to chalk out the next step. A Congress delegation also met President Ram Nath Kovind to apprise him about the prevailing situation.
Undeterred by criticism and protests, BJP has claimed it won't move even an inch on CAA.
Last year, Congress lost 10 MLAs to BJP
On a related note, in July 2019, 10 of 15 Congress MLAs switched over and joined BJP. They retained their seats as the anti-defection law states that if two-thirds of the strength of a party join hands with rivals, it qualifies as a merger.
While Fernandes may not be jumping ships (for now), his words show Congress failed to bring even its own leaders on one page.