Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday chaired a meeting of party's highest decision making body – Congress Working Committee (CWC) – and discussed key political issues including recent public protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and what party's future course of action would be over the issue.
In a strongly worded opening remarks, Gandhi said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led union government is "digging in its heels" over student-led protests and that the Congress party was 'inspired' by their street struggles.
“Thousands of young men and women, especially students, have realized the grave harm the CAA implementation will cause. They have taken to the streets braving the cold as well as the police brutalities. I salute their courage, their abiding faith in the values of the Constitution of India, and their determination to defend and protect those values. We are inspired by their struggle," she said while addressing the meeting.
“The CWC must categorically declare that millions of Congress workers will stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of India in their struggle for equality, equal protection of the laws, justice and dignity," she added.
Interestingly, Gandhi sought views of leaders over the issue of NPR (National Population Register) so as to take a 'uniform' decision over over it which she termed was a 'disguised' National Register of Citizens (NRC).
“Let us not be under any illusion that the NPR is a benign exercise. In form and content, NPR 2020 is a disguised NRC. As a party in government in several states, we must take a wise and uniform decision on NPR, and I invite you to share your views on the subject," she told party's top leaders in the meeting.
The meeting was attended by party's top leaders including former prime minister Manmohan Singh, general secretary Priyanka Gandhi while former party president Rahul Gandhi skipped the meeting. Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala informed reporters on Saturday that Rahul Gandhi was travelling and would be back on Sunday morning.
"This is not a fight of political parties or Congress versus BJP. This is a fight for defending the system of learning and independent thinking in college campuses and universities across the country... I sincerely hope political parties across the spectrum see this," Surjewala said in a media briefing after the meeting.
The CWC also passed resolution on Saturday titled “suppression of the voice of youth and students of India" over student protests, economic situation among others. The CWC has demanded that the union government should withdraw CAA and the process of NPR should be stopped.