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Citizenship law: Maha BJP approaches CM after Cong dare

Source: PTI
December 13, 2019 23:19 IST
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IMAGE: Protestors belonging to the Muslim community hold placards during a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act, in Mumbai, on Friday. Photograph: PTI Photo

Congress minister Nitin Raut said on Friday that his party will not let the amended Citizenship Act to be implemented in Maharashtra, and expressed confidence
that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will stand with the Congress on the issue.

Elsewhere, Maharashtra Home Minister and Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde said that Thackeray will take a decision after speaking to allies Congress and Nationalist Congress Party.

The NCP also said that the state government will take decision after a consultation among the alliance partners.

Later in the evening, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ashish Shelar wrote to Thackeray seeking immediate implementation of the 'historic' Act in Maharashtra.

He also urged Thackeray to clarify his government's position after Nitin Raut pitched against implementing the law in the state.


'As you are aware, the historic Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed by both the Houses of the Parliament. It should be immediately implemented in
Maharashtra as well once it comes in effect in the rest of the country after the President gives assent to it,' Shelar said in the letter sent on Friday.

Shelar, who represents the Bandra West assembly constituency, said the law is in the interest of the country.

He condemned the Congress for opposing implementation of the law in the state and said its position on the issue has created confusion among the people of the state.

The former Maharashtra minister also said the Congress is exhibiting 'arrogance' by pitching against the implementation of the law.

'Hence, you should clear the government's stand on the issue,' Shelar demanded in the letter.

The Thackeray-led Shiv Sena is heading the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government with Congress and NCP as allies.

The contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was approved by the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha this week. It paves the way for grant of Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

"The Congress is opposed to the amended act and we will not let it be implemented in Maharashtra...I think Uddhav ji will completely cooperate with us," Raut, who is part of the state cabinet, told PTI over the phone.

The Shiv Sena supported the bill in the Lok Sabha, but staged a walkout in the Upper House.

Raut said the Congress had discussed the issue with Sena leaders after the Sena backed the bill in the Lok Sabha.

"They put forth their views in no uncertain terms in the Rajya Sabha...I am sure Uddhav Thackeray is firm on the position his party took in the Rajya Sabha," Raut added.

In the Upper House, the Sena posed certain queries to the government over the bill and walked out before voting.

Speaking to reporters at the state secretariat, home minister Eknath Shinde said Thackeray would take decision after consulting alliance partners.

"The chief minister will take the right decision in the interest of the state after taking into confidence key leaders of the three parties," the Shiv Sena leader said.

"People speaking all languages and belonging to all castes and religions should feel Maharashtra is their state. We will see to it that they do not feel terrorised," he said.

Minister and state Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat said the state unit will follow the central leadership's line.

"Our policy will be in line with what our central leadership tells us to do," he said.

NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik said that as per the Common Minimum Program, the three parties would take decision after consultation.

"NCP opposed the bill in both the houses. In the CMP, we had decided we will sit together and decide the stand on national issues. So this issue will be discussed in the joint committee of the three parties," he said.

Chief ministers of states such as West Bengal, Punjab and Kerala have announced that the new law is unconstitutional and has no place in their states, though a top official has opined that states can not decline to implement it.

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