Maharashtra will go ahead with CAA, NPR, says Uddhav Thackeray after meeting PM Modi

Kusum Tewari

NEW DELHI: Disregarding protests from within the
Maharashtra coalition, CM and
Shiv Sena boss
Uddhav Thackeray stuck to his guns that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as well as the National Population Register (NPR) will be implemented in the state, sharpening friction with coalition partners NCP and

“I had a good discussion with the Prime Minister over issues concerning Maharashtra. I also discussed the CAA, NPR and NRC with him. No one needs to fear CAA. The NPR is not going to throw anyone out of the country,” Thackeray told the media on Friday.

The CM’s public assertion is significant as they came after his meeting with PM
Narendra Modi and before he made a courtesy call on Congress chief
Sonia Gandhi. Congress general secretary
Mallikarjun Kharge, who is in-charge of Maharashtra affairs, had earlier taken exception to Thackeray’s statement about implementation of CAA and NPR in Maharashtra, saying such calls could not be taken unilaterally.

Thackeray said there was a detailed discussion on CAA, NPR and the National Register of Citizens. Modi has previously said that his government had taken no decision yet on the implementation of a nationwide NRC, as distinguished from the one in Assam.

Congress and Sena refused to confirm whether the divergence over CAA and NPR figured in Thackeray’s meeting with Sonia. Both sides seemed to sidestep the issue and deny there was a division. “There is no friction among the allies. We will run the government for five years,” Thackeray said after calling on Modi with his son and state minister Aaditya.

Kharge said the NPR issue would be taken up by the state-level coordination committee. He termed it a “courtesy meeting” and claimed the discussion between Sonia and Thackeray did not touch upon NPR.

The CM’s remarks, however, pose a challenge for the coalition as NCP and Congress have strongly opposed CAA and NPR. Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh, who is from NCP, has assured anti-CAA protesters the law will not be implemented, and has opposed rollout of NPR in the state. On one occasion, he appealed to protesters by saying, “I have said multiple times that CAA and NPR will not be implemented in the state.” Congress has passed a resolution against CAA and NPR.

In his first meeting with Sonia after taking over as CM with Congress support, Thackeray is learnt to have assured the latter that the government would abide by the common minimum programme in decision-making and that the issues of CAA and NPR would be discussed in the state-level coordination committee.

Congress also seemed keen to avoid the impression of a rift. It released a photograph of the CM and Sonia exchanging bouquets, portraying the visit in a cordial light, the visual contrasting with the public divergence over CAA and NPR.

According to insiders, Congress has made it clear that being a national party, it takes stand on issues like CAA with a “national perspective” and a regional party can differ. “But a final decision of the state government will be taken by all the parties in the alliance,” a senior leader said.

Thackeray has taken the view that he will not support an NRC and that the Centre has also not given any indication that this is on the anvil. On CAA, his position is identical to that of Centre’s, ie, it does not threaten citizenship of any Indian national. On NPR, he has sought to counter apprehensions that questions like age and birth place of parents are a precursor to NRC, saying he will “vet” the queries on the NPR form. He has made it plain he personally does not find it problematic.

Sena’s stand puts it at odds with its partners, but might be driven by a desire to signal to its
Hindutva base that it is not abandoning the basics — a decision that might be prompted by reports that its cadre has actively participated in pro-CAA rallies and mobilised with Hindutva sentiments.

“No one needs to fear about the CAA and the NPR. These are not going to throw anyone out of the country,” Thackeray said on Friday evening.

This was Thackeray’s first meeting with Modi after taking over as the chief minister following a stunning post-poll realignment.

In Video:
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray meets PM Narendra Modi in Delhi

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Next Post

On the Heels of Ayodhyas Ram Statue, Worlds Tallest Hanuman Sculpture May Come Up in Ktaka