If NDA brings ordinance on Citizenship Bill, will cancel it after coming to power — Congress
Guwahati, Feb. 14 (PTI/IANS): The Congress in Assam on Thursday vowed to cancel any ordinance on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill that the NDA government might bring ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, once it came to power.
Reaching the party headquarters here in a “victory procession” from the airport after arriving from New Delhi, state Congress chief Ripun Bora claimed that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government was “strategically defeated” due to the initiatives led by his party in the Rajya Sabha as regards the bill.
The contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is set to lapse on June 3, when the term of the present Lok Sabha ends, as it could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha, which adjourned sine die on Wednesday, the final day of the Budget Session.
Addressing a press conference, Bora said, “Though we had the numbers to defeat the bill in the Rajya Sabha, we did not allow them (Centre) to table it at all, even after it was listed for two consecutive days.”
Bora, a Rajya Sabha member, said the Congress worked with other opposition parties and even got support from some smaller NDA constituents in opposing the bill, which, he claimed, was anti-constitutional.
“However, one danger is still there. The government may bring an ordinance in place of the bill before the Lok Sabha election. In such a case, we assure you that it will be cancelled after the polls as the Congress is going to form the next government at the Centre,” Bora said.
Till the Congress was there in Assam, the interests of the state would always be protected and the Assamese community would always be safe, he added.
“(Prime Minister) Narendra Modi, (Assam Chief Minister) Sarbananda Sonowal, (state minister) Himanta Biswa Sarma and (BJP leader) Ram Madhav had very arrogantly said the bill would be brought, but they failed due to the strategies of the Congress,” Bora said.
He thanked the people and the groups opposed to the bill such as the AASU, the KMSS, the NESO, RTI activist Akhil Gogoi and Sahitya Akademi awardee Hiren Gohain, for their sustained protests against the legislation in Assam and other north-eastern states.
Massive protests broke out across the region after Modi had announced in Silchar on January 4 that the bill would be passed as soon as possible in Parliament.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8, seeks to provide Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in the country, instead of the current 11 years, even if they do not possess any document.
The indigenous people of the region are apprehending that if the law is enacted, it will endanger their livelihood and identity.
Sangma says ‘victory’ on CAB due to unity of people, political parties
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Thursday said the unity of the people and political parties ensured that the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) was not tabled in Rajya Sabha and this was a victory for the northeast.
Sangma arrived here from New Delhi along with Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) leaders Atul Bora and Keshav Mahanta to a tumultuous welcome at the Lokopriyo Gopinath Bordoloi Airport.
“The bill not being presented in the Rajya Sabha is a victory of the people and political parties who voiced their opposition to the bill,” he said.
This is definitely an emotional moment and “we were united for a cause and spoke in one voice to protect the interests and identity of the region,” he added.
He also thanked all the political parties across the country, who came together to oppose the contentious the Bill.
Sangma was the first chief minister of the Northeast whose cabinet took the decision of not supporting the bill and was instrumental in bringing together ten political parties of the region along with the JD(U) to oppose it.
If Centre brings Citizenship Bill as law, NE region will fight unitedly —Mizoram CM
Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga on Thursday said if the Central government again brings the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) as a law in future, all political parties, NGOs and civil society of the Northeast region would fight unitedly against such efforts.
“If the Central government once again brings CAB as law in future, all political parties, NGOs and civil societies of the Northeast region would jointly fight against such efforts,” The chief minister said while addressing a meeting in Aizawl.
Zoramthanga, who is also the President of the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), appealed to the people, NGOs, churches and political parties to join hands and stand united in case there is a bid to reintroduce the CAB in Parliament.
“The CAB could not move in the Rajya Sabha following the collective protests of the people and all organisations of Northeast India,” he said.
In Tripura, the newly-formed Movement Against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (MACAB) will hold a victory rally in Agartala on Monday.
MACAB Convener Sridam Debbarma told IANS that though the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government has failed to push through the Bill in the Rajya Sabha, it may try to pass it if it comes back to power in the upcoming general elections.
“We should unitedly block this in the upcoming election,” he said.
Major political parties, NGOs and civil society groups are strongly opposing the Bill saying it will have a detrimental effect on the ethnic communities if it becomes law.