Uddhav Thackeray finds no problems with NPR, says it is like a census
Uddhav Thackeray’s stand on the citizenship law comes amid a back-and-forth with Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party over the National Investigation Agency taking over the probe into the Elgar Parishad case.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday declared that there was no reason for people to fear the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act, or CAA and asserted that he hadn’t made up his mind on stopping enrolment for the National Population Register, or NPR. The chief minister told reporters that he would take a call on NPR after going through the columns in the NPR forms issued by the Centre.
Uddhav Thackeray’s stand on the citizenship law comes amid a back-and-forth with Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party over the National Investigation Agency taking over the probe into the Elgar Parishad case. Pawar had been uncomfortable about the state government handing over the probe to the central agency without much resistance and had voiced his concerns.
Thackeray, who is on a tour to Sindhudurg district 500 km from state capital Mumbai, told reporters that the citizenship law and the National Register of Citizens, or NRC, were different issues.
Watch: Congress opposes NPR, but allies Shiv Sena & NCP okay it with a caveat
Also read: The changing world of Uddhav Thackeray
“CAA and NRC are different issues. NPR is the third issue. Nobody should fear the CAA…. NPR is a census and I will go through columns given in the form. I don’t think there will be any problem with it. The census is carried out every ten years,” the chief minister told reporters.
Thackeray also declared that he did not expect the NRC to be rolled out by the central government despite assertions to the contrary. He explained why.
“NRC hasn’t come and will not come. If NRC is implemented, it will create problems not only for Muslims but for Hindus, Dalits, tribals and others. The Centre has not made any statement on NRC,” Uddhav Thackeray said.
Uddhav Thackeray’s stand on the amended citizenship law is in line with the Shiv Sena’s support to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill when it came up for a vote in the Lok Sabha in December 2019. But its two freshly-minted allies - NCP and the Congress - were able to persuade the Sena to tweak its stand.
The Shiv Sena had walked out during voting in Rajya Sabha and had spoken out against CAA. It was only earlier this month that Thackeray went in for a second course-correction and declared, in an interview of his party’s mouthpiece, that there was no reason to be afraid of the citizenship law.
Sharad Pawar, who was addressing reporters in Mumbai soon after Uddhav Thackeray ended his briefing, told reporters Thackeray had his own views about the CAA but the NCP had voted against it in Parliament too.
The backing of the CAA could create a rift between the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress which is running a coalition government in Maharashtra headed by Thackeray. The Congress and NCP have been opposing the CAA and the NRC. The Sena’s two allies have also spoken out against the NPR, a project by the Centre when the two parties were in power at the Centre, since the NDA government had added some new questions to the NPR form.