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Amit Shah plans key northeast meet amid protests over citizenship bill

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah will meet the party’s leaders from the country’s northeast in Guwahati on February 17 amid protests in the region over the proposed amendment to the citizenship law.

india Updated: Feb 14, 2019 07:09 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah will meet the party’s leaders from the country’s northeast in Guwahati on February 17 amid protests in the region over the proposed amendment to the citizenship law.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah will meet the party’s leaders from the country’s northeast in Guwahati on February 17 amid protests in the region over the proposed amendment to the citizenship law. (ANI)
         

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah will meet the party’s leaders from the country’s northeast in Guwahati on February 17 amid protests in the region over the proposed amendment to the citizenship law.

The BJP’s allies in the region are upset over the amendment that seeks to make it easier for non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan to get Indian citizenship. They say it would encourage more migrations to the region, where a six-year agitation in Assam sought expulsion of Bangladeshi immigrants irrespective of their religion in the 1980s.

A BJP leader said Shah has invited BJP’s office bearers and chief ministers from the region to discuss the strategy for the 2019 parliamentary election. He added Shah would discuss how to build a campaign around the citizenship amendment.

“We will seek feedback from our leaders from different states and finalise a strategy on how to go about the [Citizenship Amendment] bill. We might make it an election issue in the northeast,” the BJP leader said.

The bill is set to lapse on June 3 as it could not be tabled in Rajya Sabha, which was adjourned sine die on Wednesday.

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won 10 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the northeast in 2014. It has defeated the Congress in all northeastern states and is expecting to win 20-21 seats.

BJP suffered a setback when Asom Gana Parishad quit the NDA over the proposed amendment. Some other allies, too, have expressed their reservations over it.

Assam’s finance minister and BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday regretted the bill could not be passed in Rajya Sabha and called is a defeat for Assam. “Without the bill, 17 [assembly] constituencies will go to Bangladeshi Muslims,” he told journalists in Assam’s Dudhnoi. “Who will save the [Assamese] community?”

First Published: Feb 14, 2019 07:08 IST