Hitting back at Union Minister Arun Jaitley who accused West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of playing with India’s sovereignty over the issue of Assam’s National Register of Citizens, her party Trinamool Congress said citizenship is not a gift which can be handed over or taken back. Also Read - 7-Year-Old Mizoram Boy Breaks His Piggy Bank, Donates His Entire Savings of Rs 333 to Fight COVID19

In a Facebook post, Jaitley had accused Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Banerjee of playing with India’s sovereignty on the NRC issue, saying citizens are the soul of the nation and not “imported vote banks”. Also Read - JEE Main 2020 Postponed: Know Here When NTA Will Conduct Exam | Admit Card to be Released After April 15

“Leaders like Rahul Gandhi and Mamata Banerjee must realise that India’s sovereignty is not a play thing. Sovereignty and citizenship are the soul of India. Imported vote banks are not,” he wrote in his blog post. Also Read - Financial Year Begins With Sensex Tanking: Banks Undecided About 3-Month Moratorium

Jaitley also slammed Mamata Banerjee over her punitive attacks against the Modi government over the Assam NRC issue. “Similarly, the BJP ally of 2005, Ms. Mamata Banerjee, took a particular position. As a federal front leader, she now talks to the contrary. Can India’s sovereignty be decided by such fickle minds and fragile hands?” he wrote.

Congress Siding With 'Tukde Tukde' Gangs: Arun Jaitley Goes All Out Against Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Over Assam NRC

Congress Siding With 'Tukde Tukde' Gangs: Arun Jaitley Goes All Out Against Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Over Assam NRC

Jaitley quoted her statement in the Lok Sabha in 2005 when TMC was a BJP ally, to show her change of stand on the issue of illegal immigrants to gain political mileage.

“To put it in the words of the Trinamool Congress leader and the West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee has stated in the Lok Sabha on 4.8.2005:”

“The infiltration in Bengal has become a disaster now. You can see the Bangladeshi as well as the Indian names in the list. I have both the Bangladeshi and the Indian voters list. This is a very serious matter. I would like to know when would it be discussed in the House?”

Hitting back, TMC leader Derek O’ Brien said while sovereignty without doubt is the soul of India, secularism is the inner conscience of the country.

“Without one, the other is meaningless. And citizenship is a fundamental right, not a gift or toy that is handed over or taken back by BJP trolliticians! Please do not play these divisive games. And, please, do take good care of your health. Please do. Wish you a speedy recovery,” he said in a statement.

In his hard-hitting post, Jaitley accused Gandhi of taking a fringe position on the NRC, which was contrary to what was advocated by former prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.

The principal duty of any government, Jaitley said, is to defend its borders, prevent any trespass and make the life of the country’s citizens safe and secure.

(With PTI inputs)