Conrad Sangma

Amid widespread protests across the Northeast over the contentious citizenship bill, National Peoples Party (NPP) president and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma Saturday threatened that his party will quit the BJP-led NDA if the proposed legislation is passed in Rajya Sabha.

The party also demanded that the Centre should not go ahead with passing the bill.

The NPP adopted a resolution on its decisions at its general body convention here during the day in which its leaders from all the four northeastern states where it is holding power or backing the government were present.

“The party took a unanimous resolution to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 and based on that decision, a
resolution was passed. If the bill is passed, the NPP will break its ties with the NDA,” Sangma told mediapersons here after the meeting.

“This decision was taken today at the general body meeting,” he said, adding the NPP will submit the party’s resolution to the Centre for information and its consideration.

He said the resolution was adopted after receiving reports from various states in the region on the opposition to the bill.

Besides being in power in Meghalaya, the NPP backs the BJP governments in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland.

The bill, being vehemently opposed in the Northeast, was passed in Lok Sabha on January 8 and the Centre has said it will try to get the Rajya Sabha nod in this budget session.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a public meeting at Changsari in Assam Saturday assured the people of the region that the bill will in no way cause harm to their interests.

“It is a national commitment to the people of the Northeast that they will not be harmed in any way and citizenship will be only granted after due investigation and recommendation of the state governments,” he said.

The NPP-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government was the first to make public its stand on the bill and the state cabinet had adopted a resolution on it officially last year.

Sangma had convened a meeting of all regional parties of the Northeast in Guwahati in January where chief ministers of Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim agreed to unitedly oppose the controversial bill.

The regional parties are main allies of the BJP and constituents of the North East Democratic Alliance. They met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh over the bill in Delhi but were unable to meet the prime minister.

The bill seeks to provide citizenship to religious minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India, instead of 12 years, which is the norm currently, even if they do not possess any document.

~IndianExpress

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