SURAT: Former Union minister Yashwant Sinha on Sunday said enactment of the "unconstitutional and unnecessary" new citizenship Act was a ploy by the Centre to "divert attention" of individuals from its "failure" to stop the economic slowdown.
Addressing a gathering during the course of his "Gandhi Shanti Yatra" here, the previous BJP leader quoted former chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian saying that India was facing a "great slowdown with its economy headed for medical care unit (ICU)".
"All sections of the society are disenchanted with the functioning of the govt . Those within the government are great experts at diverting attention."
"So, this unconstitutional, unnecessary Act is supposed to divert the eye of the youth, farmers, women, in order that they become involved in opposing this and don't believe their daily difficulties," Sinha said.
The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which was notified on January 10, grants Indian citizenship to non-Muslim minorities migrated to India Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh till New Year's Eve , 2014, following their persecution over their faith.
Massive protests were witnessed against the CAA, mainly by the scholar community, since its passage by Parliament in December last year.
Opposition parties has been dubbing the CAA "anti-Muslim" legislation, a charge being debunked by the govt .
Sinha said, "The Act was brought in because the financial condition of the country is at the present during a great danger".
The former minister of finance was in Surat as a part of his 3,000-km yatra, which began from Mumbai on January 9, for various demands including repealing the CAA; constituting judicial inquiry into instances of "state-sponsored violence" like the attack on JNU students, and seeking the government's assurance in Parliament that nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise won't be administered .
"The biggest catch of the Act, which is why this cannot be implemented, despite being notified by the Central government, is that it talks about giving citizenship to persons who have suffered religious persecution or fear of spiritual persecution," Sinha told reporters.
"Where is that the evidence of spiritual persecution? it's in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, but not in India. Will India get proof of this from neighbouring countries?" he asked.
"How will a toddler prove if their parents or grandparents who migrated here from neighbouring countries are dead? This Act can't be truly implemented because it's unconstitutional, with a man-made deadline , is predicated on religion, and is impractical," he added.