The West Bengal government ran an ad campaign on local television channels in mid December proclaiming its intention to resist the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the proposed nationwide rollout of the National Register of Citizens. The state’s governor, Jagdeep Dhankhar—a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party—castigated the move. The advertisements were “absolutely unconstitutional,” he said. “It is a criminal use of public funds.” Within a fortnight, the Calcutta High Court imposed an interim ban on the campaign.
On the last day of 2019, the legislative assembly in Kerala adopted a resolution denouncing the CAA and demanding its repeal. Kerala’s chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, argued before the assembly that the CAA “contradicts the basic values and principles of the Constitution.” Arif Mohammed Khan, the governor of Kerala, and Ravi Shankar Prasad, the law minister of the BJP-led central government, responded with outbursts. The assembly had “ventured beyond its brief,” Prasad complained. “It is only the parliament which has got the power to pass any law with regard to citizenship.”
Punjab’s chief minister, Amarinder Singh, sent an open letter to Prasad soon afterwards, endorsing the Kerala resolution. He wrote that the Kerala assembly “has not passed any citizenship law,” but formalised “the will and wisdom” of the people of the state and invited the centre to reconsider the CAA. The states, he asserted, “are neither naïve nor misguided,” but performing a constitutional duty in transmitting local voices into a national debate.
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