Raj ki baat: MNS is anti-CAA but pro-NRC

Mumbai: Barely five days after going saffron, the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) on Tuesday clarified that his party was against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) but in favour of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Raj has announced a morcha on February 9 in Mumbai, to strongly press for evicting Pakistani and Bangladeshi "infiltrators".

At the party's maiden statewide conference on January 23, Raj had said there could be a debate on the CAA but questioned why should he provide shelter to someone who had entered India illegally. However, a section of the media reported that Thackeray, who had led a scathing attack against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah during the Lok Sabha elections, has extended his support to the CAA and the NRC, which are being opposed by various political parties and citizens' organisations.

However, MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar clarified after Raj held a meeting with party office-bearers that the MNS was against the CAA but supported the NRC. He reminded that Raj had said last week, ''We have to be tough with infiltrators. We are sitting on a volcano. It can erupt anytime. We can keep working on CAA/NRC. We have to throw out Pakistani and Bangladeshi immigrants. I will support the government on this."

Nandgaonkar said the BJP-led government at the Centre has taken a clear stand - that infiltrators will be thrown out of India. ''The Centre's policy is in the interests of the nation and MNS supports it,'' he noted.

Raj had, in his speech also said that Muslims who are "honest" towards the country "are ours". The country cannot "reject" personalities like former President APJ Abdul Kalam, former Indian pacer Zaheer Khan and lyricist Javed Akhtar, he added.

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