The Kerala Assembly on Tuesday passed a resoultion demanding scrapping of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), becoming the first state in the country to do so.
While Chief Ministers of non-BJP ruled states like Mamata Banerjee of West Bengal have announced that they would not implement CAA, CPI(M)-ruled Kerala was the first to take the legislature route to register its opposition to the law.
Setting aside their political differences, the ruling CPI(M)-led LDF and Opposition Congress headed UDF, once again came together to launch a joint fight against the Centre on the CAA, which has seen unprecedented protests all over the country.
While all the members of two fronts unanimously supported the resolution at the special session and vehemently criticised the central government, the lone BJP MLA in the 140-member house opposed the resolution, terming it as "illegal and unconstitutional."
Vijayan, who moved the resolution and Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, who seconded it, alleged that CAA was an attempt to make India a religious nation, which Rajagopal rejected saying the Act was being "misinterpreted" and lies were being spread by the fronts for narrow political gains.
The Chief Minister said the implementation of the controversial act will lead to religion-based discrimnation in granting citizenship, which was against the secular values enshrined in the Constitution.
The legislation, which contradicts the basic values and principles of the Constitution, was a cause of concern for the Non Resident Indians also, he said and wanted the Centre to take steps to drop CAA and uphold the secular credentials of the Constitution.
The southern state has already put on hold all activities in connection with the National Population Register (NPR) considering the "apprehensions" of the public that it would lead to National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Noting that the Act had triggered widespread protests among various strata of society, the Chief Minister said it had dented India's image in front of the international community.
Vijayan also made it clear that there would be no detention centres set up to house illegal immigrants in the state.
Just because both houses of Parliament has passed the CAA, it cannot be implemented as it was against constitutional values, he said.
Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala also criticised the CAA and came down on the state governor Arif Mohammed Khan for supporting the Act.
"The governor should be above politics," Chennithala said adding he should understand the feelings of the people of the state.
Chennithala claimed that the controversial Act virtually rejects the equality guaranteed by the Constitution and violates the fundamental rights of the citizens.
The CAA cannot be viewed as an isolated move but it should be seen along with the NRC and NPR, he added.
The Opposition Congress -led UDF had wanted the Left government to convene a special session and pass a resolution against the CAA during an all-party meeting convened by the Chief Minister on December 29 to discuss the issue.
The two fronts had recently held a joint protest here against the CAA in which Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan and Opposition leader, Ramesh Chennithala had participated with scores of leaders from different parties.
The resolution was passed at the special session convened to ratify the extension by another 10 years the reservation for SC and ST community in the state assemblies and Parliament.
The house also passed another resolution criticising the removal of the Anglo Indian community from the reservation in the state assembies and Parliament.