Ms. Mamata Banerjee, Mr. Arvind Kejriwal and Ms.Mayawati will skip a meeting called by the Congress to discuss protests over the citizenship amendment act and the NRC, in a big blow to opposition unity.
Ms. Banerjee declared on Friday that she would not attend the opposition meeting, referring to clashes during last week's trade union strike when workers of the Left allegedly attacked those of her Trinamool Congress to enforce the shutdown.
The Bengal Chief Minister stressed she was compelled to take the step even though such a meeting of opposition parties was her suggestion. 'What happened yesterday in the state (during the labour strike) -- it is no more possible for me to attend the meeting anymore. I was the first to launch an andolan (movement) against CAA, NRC,' she said. 'What the Left and the Congress are doing in the name of the CAA-NRC is not a movement but vandalism'.
Ms. Mayawati made it clear that she would not attend any meeting called by the Congress after all six MLAs of her BSP in Rajasthan joined the party last September. 'Even though the BSP was supporting the Congress government in Rajasthan, they betrayed us by taking away our MLAs. In such a situation, the BSP attending the opposition meeting led by the Congress will demoralise the party workers in Rajasthan,' she tweeted in Hindi.
Ms. Mayawati had also attacked Mrs.Sonia Gandhi and Ms. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in recent days over the baby deaths at a hospital in Rajasthan's Kota district. She said if the 'woman general secretary of the Congress' would not visit Kota to meet the mothers who lost their children, then her meetings with families of victims of police firing during CAA protests in Uttar Pradesh will be considered for 'political interest and drama'.
The AAP also opted out of the meet. 'We have no information about any such meeting. So, it makes no sense to attend a meeting we have no information about,' the party's Mr. Sanjay Singh said. On Saturday, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi termed the citizenship law a 'discriminatory and divisive' law whose 'sinister' purpose was to divide people on religious lines. 'The CAA is a discriminatory and divisive law. The sinister purpose of the law is clear to every patriotic, tolerant and secular Indian: it is to divide the Indian people on religious lines,' she said at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee.
The opposition's struggle to put up a united show in protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act and the citizenship law comes at a time protests have erupted in many campuses across the country, with the civil society and political parties joining in.