Hitting back at Union Minister Arun Jaitley over his remarks on Assam's National Register of Citizens (NRC), the Trinamool Congress (TMC) said citizenship is not a gift which can be handed over or taken back. Jaitley had accused West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of playing with India's sovereignty over Assam NRC.
The Union minister, through a Facebook post, had accused Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Banerjee of playing with India's sovereignty on the NRC issue, saying citizens are the soul of the nation and not "imported vote banks".
Hitting back, TMC leader Derek O' Brien said while sovereignty without doubt is the soul of India, secularism is the inner conscience of the country.
"Without one, the other is meaningless. And citizenship is a fundamental right, not a gift or toy that is handed over or taken back by BJP trolliticians! Please do not play these divisive games. And, please, do take good care of your health. Please do. Wish you a speedy recovery," he said in a statement.
In his hard-hitting post, Jaitley accused Gandhi of taking a fringe position on the NRC, which was contrary to what was advocated by former prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
The principal duty of any government is to defend its borders, prevent any trespass and make the life of the country's citizens safe and secure, Jaitley said.