"Why debate with them? Debate with me," reiterated AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Tuesday, in retaliation to Home Minister Amit Shah's challenge to debate over the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) with Opposition leaders--Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav, and Mayawati. During an address in Karimnagar, Owaisi said that he is prepared to debate with the Home Minister on CAA, the National Population Register (NPR) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The Hyderabad MP said, "You should debate with me. I am here. Why debate with them? The debate should be with a bearded man. I can debate with them on CAA, NPR, and NRC."
On December 25, Asaduddin Owaisi lambasted the PM Modi-led government of clandestinely implementing NRC via NPR, further alleged that Amit Shah was "lying" to the country. Addressing a large crowd in December last year in Telangana's Mahabubnagar, Owaisi challenged Amit Shah to debate with him on any news channel. The AIMIM chief had previously belittled ridiculed BJP's outreach program by calling it a "PR" move.
After declaring that CAA will not be rolled back despite the nationwide protests, Amit Shah called for a public debate on the legislation on Tuesday. He said, "Modiji got CAA, now Rahul (Gandhi) and company, Mamata (Banerjee), Akhilesh (Yadav), sister Mayawati, the entire brigade is doing 'kau kau kau' against CAA." "I have come to you for a Jan Jagaran Abhiyan in Lucknow. Our government is hardly 8 months old but we are conducting this campaign to dispell the falsities being spread by the opposition against CAA. I challenge Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, and Akhilesh Yadav to engage in a debate on CAA," the Home Minister added.
While there has been a call to hold a public debate over the controversial Act, both Owaisi and Amit Shah had sparred over CAA, after the Bill was introduced by the Home Minister in the Lok Sabha on December 9. In a dramatic protest against the Bill, Owaisi had shredded the copy of the Bill into pieces, claiming that it would lead to the 'partition' of the nation. Contending the Bill, Owaisi had equated it to the Nazi's Nuremberg Race Law, moreover, compared Amit Shah to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
However, in retaliation to his opposition, Amit Shah had told Owaisi on the floor of the House that the implementation of a nationwide NRC was in offing. In Lok Sabha, the Home Minister said, "CAA, NRC is not a trap. There is no need for background on NRC. We are very clear on this, this country will have an NRC." However, later in December, PM Modi denied that an NRC was in works, further accusing the "urban Naxals" of spreading lies.