Citizenship Bill: BJP’s partner in NEDA weighing options

Published: Jan 9, 2019, 7:02 am IST

Guwahati, Jan 9 (UNI) As the Northeastern states unite in protest against the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 by the NDA government, the political fallout could be the breaking up of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA)- a platform of non-Congress parties constituted by the BJP just after it formed government in Assam, with the objective of making the region Congress-mukt

Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) the biggest party in NEDA quit the alliance with BJP in Assam opposing the citizenship bill, another partner Nationalist People’s Party (NPP) in neighboring Meghalaya has started to make the noise of discomfort of staying with the saffron brigade in midst of protest against the Citizenship bill engulfing the entire region.

NPP which is leading the six party coalition government in Meghalaya where BJP is also a member.

“We were the first among all the states in North East to take a decisive stand against citizenship bill by passing a state cabinet resolution. Now time has come to re look at our partnership with BJP since they have moved ahead with the bill,” Chief Minister of Meghalaya Conrad Sangma, told UNI.

Another partner in NEDA, United Democratic Party has also hinted that it could leave the alliance if the bill is ultimately passed in Parliament.

People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) government in Nagaland which has nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) and BJP has asked the centre to reexamine the bill to ensure that it doesn’t violates the provision enshrined in the constitution related to customary practices of Naga community.

In Mizoram, Mizo Nationalist Front (MNF) which swept into power in recently held assembly polls has already voice its concern over the bill terming it as an attempt to provide citizenship to illegal migrants on the basis of religion.

Chief Minister Zoramthanga said that if passed the bill will be harmful for states like Mizoram where large number Buddhists migrants from Bangladesh are staying illegally.

In Tripura also where BJP wrested power from left front government last year in alliance with a tribal party Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) differences have cropped up over the bill.

Several protesters were injured in clashes with the police in Tripura during an agitation against the Citizenship Bill. Some protesters sustained bullet injuries after the police opened fire at protesters as they blocked the NH-8 which connects Tripura with Assam.
The protests were being carried out by the indigenous Twipra Students’ Federation (TSF) as part of the day-long shutdown call across the northeastern states called by the umbrella body North East Students’ Organisation (NESO).