Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi met President Ram Nath Kovind along with leaders of other Opposition parties on Tuesday and demanded withdrawal of the Citizenship Amendment Act. Addressing the media after the meeting, Gandhi said: "The situation in the Northeast which is now spreading throughout the country including the capital because of the act, is a very serious situation, we fear that it may spread even further. We are anguished at the manner in which police dealt with peaceful demonstration". She also accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of shutting down people's voices and bringing legislations that are unacceptable.
"We have an example in Delhi where Police entered the Jamia women hostel & dragged them out, it mercilessly beat students. I think you all have seen that Modi govt seems to have no compassion when it comes to shutting down people's voices and implement legislation," she added.
The crucial meeting comes at a time when protests are being reported throughout the country against the Citizenship Amendment Act. On Sunday, protests in Jamia turned violent when buses were burnt. The police used tear gas shells and lathis on protesters. Meanwhile, protests have been continuing in different areas of Delhi against the police action. On Tuesday, violent protests erupted in Seelampur area where stones were pelted on the police and buses and police vehicles were vandalized.
CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said the President was the custodian of the Constitution.
"We have said that he cannot allow his government to violate the Constitution in this brazen manner. We urged him to give his advice to the government to withdraw this law," he told reporters.
Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien said, "We have asked the President to please advise the government to withdraw this diabolical, divisive act. This act will affect the poorest of the poor."
Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav said, "We have urged the President that the fears expressed by us in Parliament during the passage of the bill are proving right. This is a law that is taking the country towards its division. The CAA has put fear in the minds of the people and it will have bad results. Our government is giving an opportunity to break the country."
"We urged the president to keep the country united and not allow it to divide the country," he said.
On Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging that certain groups with vested interests are trying to create disturbance and helping Pakistan, Congress leader Kapil Sibal said, "We challenge the prime minister to have a debate with us. I challenge him for a one-on-one debate where we will highlight who embraced Nawaz Sharif and who released the terrorists and who wanted to be more friendly to Pakistan. It is they who have sympathies with Pakistan and accuse the opposition (of it). We challenge him for a debate."
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said there were around 14 to 15 political parties which were to come, but leaders of some of the parties could not come. "They are with us," he added.
He said a memorandum has been given to the President that points out how the government was in a hurry to bring this law.
"This law is not in the interest of the country as it divides people. They do not bother about the country," he alleged.
Leaders of at least 12 parties, including the Congress, CPI-M, CPI, DMK, SP, TMC, RJD, National Conference, IUML and AIUDF, were part of the delegation.
The Bahujan Samaj Party MPs from both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha would be meeting the President separately on Wednesday, party leader Danish Ali said.