CAA brought to divert attention from economy: Akhilesh

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav criticised the ruling BJP on Sunday, alleging that the new citizenship law has been brought in to "divert the attention" from the "virtually destroyed" economy and rising unemployment.

Addressing a press conference here, Yadav said people were made to stand in line to withdraw cash during the demonetisation exercise and now they will have to stand in queue for their rights due to National Register of Citizens (NRC).

"The economy is in dire straits, has been virtually destroyed, unemployment is at an all-time high. To divert the attention from these issues, CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) was enacted," he told reporters.

The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister also claimed that his party workers undertook peaceful protests against the CAA "but the government itself gave fuel to violence in order to divert attention from unemployment, corruption and issues pertaining to the youth".

"If the atmosphere was worsened, then it was at the behest of the government. After all who gains from hatred?" he alleged.

On the recent move by the UP government to identify the vandals who had damaged property during the violence and they be made to pay for the damage, Yadav said, "In that case, compensation should also be given for the property damaged during 2007 Gorakhpur riots. Yogi Adityanath was accused in those riots. Jinke ghar shishe ke hotay hai, woh doosre ke ghar pathar nahi maaraa karte (those who live in glass houses, do not hurl stones at others)."

Referring to the recent show of unity by MLAs from the BJP and opposition parties in UP Assembly, he said, "Next year something big is going to happen. The BJP MLAs are in mood to play T20 match. I got this piece of information, and hence I am saying this. In the new year, there will be a bumper offer for 20-20."

When asked as to how many BJP MLAs are in touch with the SP, Yadav said, "We are here only to extend support."

To a question that the government says that the amended Citizenship law will give citizenship, and not snatch it, the SP chief said, "At the time of demonetisation, the government had then said that black money will come back in the country, corruption will be curtailed, but the truth is that corruption increased many times. So, how could the government's version of the citizenship law be trusted."

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