New Delhi: A day after Union Home Minister dared opposition leaders for a public debate on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) chief Mayawati accepted the challenge ‘at any forum’ or ‘any place’. Also Read - Sourav Ganguly to Join Politics in Future? BCCI President Answers
“As far as the debate is concerned, finalise the place and time. Select your favourite channels and anchors. I will reach there. But the topic of debate will be development, employment, youth, and farmers,” Yadav asserted, speaking to reporters. Also Read - Uttarakhand CM Cancels Programmes, Rushes to Delhi Amid Rumours of Leadership Change
While addressing a pro-Citizenship rally in Lucknow, Amit Shah had thrown an open challenge at Mayawati, Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Akhilesh Yadav to come and debate with him on the contentious law. Also Read - Suvendu Adhikari to File Nomination Papers From Nandigram Assembly Seat on March 12, Will Face Mamata Banerjee
Responding to his invitation for battle, BSP supremo Mayawati tweeted in Hindi, “BSP is ready to accept the challenge thrown by the central government, which is troubled by the organised struggle and agitation all over the country against the most controversial CAA/NRC/NPR, especially by the women and youth, for a debate on any platform and at any given venue.”
Hitting out at the senior BJP leader, former CM and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said that the kind of language Amit Shah uses does not behove a politician.
“How long will the BJP continue to discriminate against citizens on the basis of religion?” questioned Yadav and said that the BJP “cannot quell people’s voice by dint of its brute majority”.
Meanwhile, earlier today, AIMIM supremo Assaduddin Owaisi said that instead of challenging the named opposition leaders, Shah should challenge him, ‘a bearded man’, who can debate for hours on CAA, NPR (National Population Register) and NRC (National Register of Citizens).
The Citizenship law and nationwide NRC has spurred widespread protests leading to violence across the country. Despite thousands of students, activists and politicians agitating against the Centre’s move, the contentious law came into effect on January 10.