All India Majlis-e- Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi on Saturday claimed that if the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is rolled out across the country, it will lead to eight crore people being left out of the final list.

At the Hindustan Samagam event in Lucknow, the Hyderabad MP said the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the National Population Register (NPR) and the NRC are interlinked.

“CAA, NRC and NRP are interlinked. The CAA is a prelude to NPR and NRC which are bound to follow. The NRC will cost the country Rs 65,000 crore and leave eight crore people out of it,” he said. “There is no need for NPR, NRC. There is a need for economic development.”

BJP spokesman, Shudhanshu Dwivedi who also took part in the discussion refused to answer questions on whether he supported the NRC.

The anti-CAA protests at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh also figured in the discussion.

Owasi alleged that the CAA is discriminatory law and it has been internationalised and those opposing it are fighting to uphold the Constitution.

“Shaheen Bagh is an organic protest and those opposing the CAA are fighting to save the Constitution,” he said.

Asked why the government hasn’t initiated a dialogue with the protesters, Dwivedi said the anti-CAA agitation has no leader and no demand.

“This is a peculiar agitation. There is no demand no representative. They claim that four to five thousand people are protesting at Shaheen Bagh. But they can’t depute four or five people for talks because they don’t trust each other,” he said.

Dwivedi also said that political parties who tried to cash in on the protest lost badly in the Delhi assembly elections.

Owaisi responded saying that despite the BJP making the Shaheen Bagh protests an election issue in the Delhi assembly elections, it lost badly.

“The BJP also made Shaheen Bagh a big election issue. They had said Shaheen Bagh protests would end the day the results are declared. But the BJP also lost the elections badly despite such a massive campaign where they sent ove 200 MPs to campaign when Parliament was in session. Home Minister Amit Shah also campaigned and so did UP chief minister. But it did not help,” Owaisi said.

The protest against the CAA and the NRC at Shaheen Bagh is now more than two months old. On Monday, the Supreme Court appointed three mediators t talk to the protesters to find ways of ending the agitation.

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