BJP leader says failure to pass Citizenship Bill biggest victory for north east
A BJP legislator in Meghalaya went against his party line Wednesday and called the NDA government's failure to pass the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Rajya Sabha as the "greatest victory" for the indigenous people of the northeast. The Bill, which had been listed for tabling in the Rajya Sabha during the penultimate day of the last session of this Lok Sabha, lapsed as the house was adjourned sine die.
In Meghalaya, BJP is a part of the National Peoples Party-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government, which had adopted a resolution last year opposing the Bill. Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma had even convened an all regional party federation in the North East to oppose the Bill and had met the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi on the issue.
BJP MLA and Meghalaya Tourism Development Corporation chairman Sanbor Shullai had opposed the contentious piece of legislation and had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi threatening to resign from the party if it is passed in the Rajya Sabha. The bill had been passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8 triggering widespread protests and demonstrations across the northeast fearing that the indigenous people and the culture of the region would be affected.
He told PTI, "It is a great victory for the indigenous people of the state and the North East. I had promised my people that I will resign from the BJP if the party goes ahead and passes the Bill in Parliament". Bah Hek (a BJP Minister in Meghalaya) and I hail the development at the Rajya Sabha today. We stand by our people, he added.
A delegation of political parties led by Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma and the North East Students Organisation (NESO) team led by its chairman Samuel B Jyrwa have been campaigning against the Bill in New Delhi for the past few days. They had met leaders of different political parties for their support and to ensure that they vote against the Bill in the Rajya Sabha.
The Bill had sought to according Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India instead of 11 years, which is the norm currently, even if they do not possess any document. ` Activists opposing the Bill led by the influential Khasi Students Union took out a victory rally after the Rajya Sabha was adjourned sine die without tabling the controversial Bill.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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