Ram Madhav, the National General Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on Thursday said that the saffron party are reaching out to all allies to address concerns over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016.
“We’re reaching out to alliance partners who have expressed concerns over the bill. We’ll reassure them that interest of each and every state will be taken care of. We’re confident that those who have left will come back,” the senior BJP leader said.
The comments of the BJP leader came on the day Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh said that his state will oppose the Bill unless there was a provision for protecting the indigenous people of the northeast.
Singh also stressed that his government would want President’s assent to Manipur People’s (Protection) Bill, 2018 before passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. Interestingly, Singh is himself a BJP leader.
On 7 January, the Asom Gana Parishad, one of the oldest NDA allies in Assam, left the coalition protesting the Citizenship Bill.
“We tried to convince the BJP leadership about stand of the people of Assam on the Bill. However, the BJP has completely failed to understand the sentiments of the people of Assam. Now there is no reason that we should be in alliance with the BJP,” AGP chief Atul Bora told reporters.
The party has 14 seats in the 126-member Assam assembly and three ministers in the government led by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 seeks to amend the Citizenship Act 1955 by making Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan to become eligible for Indian citizenship.
AGP and some other parties in Assam oppose the Bill on the ground that it will allow influx of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants – both Hindus and Muslims – into the state.
Meanwhile, Madhav also rejected the proposed ‘Mahagathbandhan’ (Grand Alliance) as a non-starter.
Speaking to the media in Guwahati, the 54-year-old Madhav said that the opposition has “no common agenda, principle or ideals”.
“Utter chaos is going on in the name of ‘Mahagathbandhan’ by the opposition parties,” he told the media, adding, “The opposition parties have no issues against the present government. They are trying to form the alliance with just one agenda, to stop Modi from coming to power again.”
Expressing confidence in the work done by the NDA government in the country in the past five years, Madhav said that the BJP will again form the government with all its alliance partners.
“A total of 129 schemes have been started for the benefit of under privileged people and 22 to 23 crore people have benefited,” he underlined while pointing out that there has not been a single allegation of corruption against anyone “except for the false allegation levelled by the Congress”.