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Citizenship Bill: AGP to host multi-party meet today, key BJP allies to participate

Among the key leaders attending are NPP leader and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, and MNF leader and Mizoram CM Zoramthanga. A representative of the JD(U) is also expected to attend.

Written by Abhishek Saha | Guwahati |
January 29, 2019 2:17:08 am
Citizenship bill, Citizenship bill protest, north east Citizenship bill, Mizoram protests, Mizo National Front, India news, Indian Express The BJP has faced political heat in the region, with several of its allies, and even its own members, expressing discontent over the Bill which was passed in the Lok Sabha earlier this month. (Representational image)

As the Northeast continues to be tense over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) — which recently walked out of an alliance with the BJP in Assam over disagreements regarding the Bill — has convened a meeting among various regional parties in Guwahati on Tuesday.

The meeting is expected to see participation from key BJP allies in the region, including the National People’s Party (NPP), which leads the coalition in Meghalaya; the United Democratic Party (UDP), which supports the NDA in Meghalaya; the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), which leads the coalition in Nagaland; the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), which is an ally of the BJP in Tripura; and the Mizo National Front (MNF), which is the ruling party in Mizoram.

The parties are important members of the BJP-led association of regional parties in the Northeast, called the North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA).

Among the key leaders attending are NPP leader and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, and MNF leader and Mizoram CM Zoramthanga. A representative of the JD(U) is also expected to attend.

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AGP president Atul Bora said, “At least nine parties are participating in the meeting we are hosting tomorrow… We will be discussing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

The BJP has faced political heat in the region, with several of its allies, and even its own members, expressing discontent over the Bill which was passed in the Lok Sabha earlier this month.

The political opposition, powerful groups and large sections of society in the Northeast hold the Bill as a “threat” to the indigenous communities of the region.

Meanwhile, on the opening day of the Assam Assembly’s Budget session on Monday, the House was adjourned for 45 minutes following protests by opposition parties regarding the Bill.

On Monday, a four-member delegation of the JD(U) headed by Rajya Sabha MP K C Tyagi, arrived in Guwahati and met the AGP leadership.

Tyagi said that if the Bill is placed in the Rajya Sabha, his party will vote against it, because the party considered it to be detrimental to the interests of the people of the Northeast.

Talking to The Indian Express, Tyagi termed the Bill as “unconstitutional”. “It will change demography. It will affect the cultural identity of people here,” he said. Tyagi said that the reaction over the Bill in the Northeast is likely to affect the BJP.

“We will talk to the home minister…. With the passing of this Bill, the NDA will suffer and the BJP will suffer too,” Tyagi said.

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