As the BJP’s hightened efforts to clear the way for Citizenship (Amendment) Bill cost the party its Assam ally AGP, speculations are rife that other NDA partners in neighbouring Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland are also not in conformity with the saffron party over the sensitive issue. The saffron outfit is in power in the Northeast after entering into alliance with regional parties along with its own strong numbers. The issue appears to have disturbed many of its northeast allies, which may not be good for the saffron party, which is eyeing the vital 25 Lok Sabha seats from the seven sister states in the general elections this year. Two days after breaking away from the BJP-led alliance government in Assam, the three AGP ministers on Wednesday tendered their resignation to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, reports PTI. “We fought against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 till the last moment.
However, after meeting Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday, we were convinced the BJP is going to pass the Bill in the Lok Sabha. We met the Chief Minister and tendered our resignations,” said AGP President Atul Bora after coming out of Sonowal’s office at Dispur. In neighbouring Meghalaya, BJP’s senior ruling alliance partner, National Peoples Party (NPP), has said it would decide its future course of action after discussing the matter with party leaders. Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma had on Tuesday said he would discuss the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha with leaders of his NPP in all the northeastern states to decide the future course of action. The NPP heads the government in Meghalaya and the BJP is its alliance partner. Both the parties are also part of the ruling governments in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur. Sangma had said the Meghalaya cabinet passed an official resolution to oppose any attempt to amend the Citizenship Bill. In Nagaland, the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), which is running the government with the BJP, said it would deliberate the matter with party legislators.
The state government had in the past, however, sought review of the Bill. NDPP president Chingwang Konyak told PTI here that the party was yet to take any decision on the matter. Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh on Wednesday urged people not to panic over the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, saying “a state government does not necessarily has to go always according to the directives of the Centre”. “We had discussed the Bill in the last cabinet meeting and there will be further discussions,” he said, adding that the state government shall never go against the wishes of the people. In Mizoram, the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), which though is running the government in the state alone but is part of the NEDA, on Wednesday said the party opposed the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill and had expressed its opinion repeatedly in public. MNF vice president R Tlanghmingthanga told PTI that the party had made its stance on the issue “crystal clear” and expressed its opposition to the passage of the proposed legislation. In Tripura, BJP’s coalition partner Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) on Wednesday clarified that they were opposed to the Citizenship Bill, 2016, saying it would encourage illegal migration of non-tribals. General Secretary of IPFT, Mangal Debbarma said the party would continue its movement for scrapping of the Bill. Amidst the outcry, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday said that he will soon hold a meeting with the Chief Ministers of all Northeastern states for reviewing the current security situation and maintaining peace and security in the region.
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