There has been much controversy in the country regarding the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). It has managed to cause embarrassment for many political parties and especially those, officially or unofficially, part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). While some chose to base their stand on the separation of the CAA and NRC others couldn’t simply ignore Union Home Minister’s exhortation to the “chronology” of these set of laws. Overall, the popular sentiment seems to lie on the intention and limited magnanimity of the Government and thereby a severe criticism still ensues.
The same is true of the Andhra Pradesh Government. As is common knowledge, the Muslim community in the State has been a strong traditional votary of the Indian National Congress (INC) and now of the YSRCP. Muslims constitute roughly 7% of the total AP population and are known to have contributed in a big way to Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s sweeping victory in the 2019 assembly elections. But Jagan’s Government seems to have betrayed the community.
In December 2019, all its 22 MPs voted in favour of the CAB when it was introduced in the Parliament. In fact even the 3 TDP MPs, too, voted in favour of the bill. Nonetheless, while the TDP President N. Chandrababu Naidu realised the inherent danger quickly and voiced his party opinion against the bill, it took the YSRCP Government much longer to come to terms with its actions. Deputy CM Amjad Basha himself went against the stand of his Government and openly criticised the CAA. Later in April 2020, when the NRC process was to begin and only when Telangana CM K. Chandrashekar Rao passed a resolution in the Telangana State Assembly to implement the 2010 NRC rules, did a reactive Jagan pass a similar resolution.
The Government’s U-turn, as expected, was justified under the distinction between CAA and NRC, which is weak considering the “chronology” of the laws. While the YSRCP Government can justify closeness to the NDA to maintain smooth “Centre-State relations” for the development of AP, there are many who are criticising Jagan for playing to the trite tunes of the NDA in return for a favourable treatment from the CBI regarding his disproportionate assets case worth lakhs of crores for which he still attends the special court hearing in Hyderabad every Friday.