Updated: February 22, 2020 1:58:52 am
REITERATING HIS stand on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Population Register (NPR), Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray said on Friday that those who instigated the protests against CAA needed to understand why they had done so. He was speaking to the media after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
This was the first meeting between the two after Thackeray assumed chief ministership of Maharashtra. The Sena was earlier a part of NDA, but formed the government in Maharashtra with the Congress and NCP after parting ways with the BJP.
Sena chief stand may hit alliance
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s re-assertion of his position in favour of the CAA and NPR may bring cheer for his earlier ally BJP and raise eyebrows of his current allies Congress and NCP. His green-flagging of CAA and NPR has the potential to weaken the opposition resolve against the move at the national level while creating an irritation for Congress and NCP in Maharashtra who have propped up his government.
At the meeting with the Prime Minister, Thackeray was accompanied by his son and Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray.
Thackeray said he had good discussions with the Prime Minister on issues concerning the state. “I told him that whatever political developments that have taken place, Maharashtra should get cooperation from the Centre. He has promised me …Centre’s cooperation,” he said.
“We discussed CAA, NRC and NPR. I have made my stand clear on these…There is no need to fear the CAA. The persecuted minorities (from the neighbourhood) will be benefited. The central government has said NRC will not be implemented across the country. If we see any dangers befalling the citizens (during the NPR exercise), we will oppose it then.”
Thackeray and Aaditya later called on Congress president Sonia Gandhi, veteran BJP leader L K Advani and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Asked if he would appeal to anti-CAA protesters to call off their agitation, Thackeray said, “Those who have instigated it need to understand this.” He said the “leader” has to figure out why he is opposing or supporting something. When a reporter sought to know who was instigating the protests, Thackeray shot back, “I don’t live in Delhi, you do.”
“The NPR is proposed along with the Census. It happened in 2010 too. Census happens every 10 years in our country. If there are new columns proposed in the NPR, they will be scrutinised by our government and if it seems problematic we won’t take it ahead,” stated a tweet from the official handle of the Maharashtra Chief Minister, Office of Uddhav Thackeray, on Friday. “NRC is problematic to every citizen, irrespective of caste, creed, religion any which way, and won’t let it come to Maharashtra,” said another tweet.
The Sena chief and his allies are not on the same page on the CAA. Both the Congress and the NCP are opposed to the NRC and CAA and have been objecting to the NPR exercise slated later this year. NCP chief Sharad Pawar, who had a crucial role in bringing together the Sena and the Congress, said on Tuesday that they will work on the differences with Thackeray. “We will convince the Sena,” he said.
Thackeray on Friday ruled out any discord in the alliance and said the coalition government will last its full five-year term. “We have made up our minds. We are following the Common Minimum Programme. There is no problem,” he said.
(With ENS, Mumbai)
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