Lucknow/Hyderabad: Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s open challenge to the opposition for a debate on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was Wednesday accepted by Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati while Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav threw a counter challenge for a debate on development.
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi also responded to the challenge, telling Shah, ‘Daadi wale se karo na’ (Debate with the bearded man).
“The 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 youth and women, for a debate on the issue on any platform and anywhere,” Mayawati said in a tweet in Hindi.
Asked by reporters in Lucknow about Shah’s challenge, Akhilesh Yadav said, “I challenge the BJP for a debate on development.”
“I ask them to fix a place or a forum, with their favourite channels and anchors, for a debate on development. We Samajwadis are ready for it. Why did they not want to debate on the state of the economy and demonetisation,” the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said.
Yadav said those who ‘understand the soul’ of the country are opposed to the contentious law and accused the BJP of discrimination on the basis of religion.
Speaking at a rally in Karimnagar district in Telangana, Owaisi wanted Shah to discuss the new law with him instead of others.
“I am here… debate with me…why (debate) with these people… ‘Daadi wale se karo na’. We will talk and debate on CAA, NPR and NRC,” the leader of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen(AIMIM) said.
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal has already challenged Shah for a debate while party colleague P Chidambaram asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi as to why he or his government did not accept his suggestion of the PM holding an open debate with five critics of the amended Citizenship Act and let people draw their own conclusion.
“I had suggested that the PM should select five of the most articulate critics and hold a Q&A session with them. Why doesn’t the PM/Government accept the suggestion? Let five critics of CAA-NPR debate the PM. Let the event be televised live. And let the people draw their own conclusions,” Chidambaram said on Twitter.