Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Wednesday said his party Congress also wanted to implement the National Population Register (NPR), but without the NRC as he vowed not to implement the "anti-constitutional" Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in the state.
Nath, who led an anti-CAA protest march here, raised questions over the Modi government's "intentions" behind bringing the National Population Register (NPR) together with the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
He alleged the Centre was opening the door for the "misuse" of the new citizenship law and the NRC, saying what was "not written" in the controversial legislation holds more importance that what was written in it.
"Wo jo NPR le aaye, wo toh hum bhi chahte the, par uske sath koi NRC nahi juda tha. Jo ye jodkar la rahe hai ye inki niyat sabit karti hai! (We also wanted the NPR that they have brought, but there was no NRC associated with it. They are bringing it together, which has made their intentions clear)," Nath told reporters here after participating in the march.
He was responding to a question about the Centre's announcement of updating the NPR.
On Tuesday, the Union cabinet decided that the NPR will be updated along with the house-listing phase of Census 2021 from April to September 2020 in all the states/union territories, except Assam. The cabinet also sanctioned a sum of over Rs 8,500 crore for updating NPR.
Questioning the Centre's intentions, Nath said Union Home Minister Amit Shah has already told Parliament that they will implement the NRC across the country.
"During my 40 years in Parliament, I have never seen an anti-constitutional law like the CAA and NRC. It is not a question of what is written (in the law), but what is not (written). "It is not a question of its use, but of misuse. They are opening the door of misuse," said the former Lok Sabha MP from Chhindwara.
The Congress has alleged the Modi government was trying to link the NPR with the NRC and termed it "draconian" and against the secular credentials of the Constitution.
However, Shah has sought to allay apprehensions, saying there is no link between the NPR and the NRC.
Nath further said the Centre was trying to divert the attention of people from several grave issues like economic slowdown, unemployment, farm distress and challenges in bringing in investments.
The Congress chief minister, who completed one year in office last week, once again made it clear his government would not implement the CAA in Madhya Pradesh.
Nath had earlier made this announcement during a protest at Rajghat in New Delhi on Monday.
At the outset of the protest march, Nath told the gathering he would fight against the CAA till the end as it was "against the basic structure of the country".
"The identity of India is through its Constitution, which connects various cultures and ensures unity of the country," he said.
Nath took part in 'Samvidhan Bachao Nyaya Shanti Yatra' which began from Rangmahal Talkies and culminated at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Minto Hall (old Vidhan Sabha complex).
A large number of Congress workers, state ministers, representatives of other political parties, including the Communist Party of India (CPI), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and people from various sections of the society took part in the march.