Alliance pangs: After Bhima Koregaon run-in, Maha Aghadi set to hit fresh turbulence over NPR rollout

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Published: February 20, 2020 5:34 PM

Congress' Maharashtra in-charge Mallikarjun Kharge categorically said that the party will not allow the implementation of NPR in the state despite CM Uddhav Thackeray's go ahead.

Uddhav Thackeray heads a coalition government of the Shiv Sena, Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party in Maharashtra.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s statement on having no objections to the National Population Register (NPR) exercise has evoked a sharp reaction from alliance partner Congress. Uddhav had said on Wednesday that the Citizenship Amendment Act can’t strip anyone of Indian citizenship and hinted that he will allow the NPR exercise in the state. He, however, said that the NRC will not only affect Muslims, but Hindus as well and ruled out allowing the exercise in the state if the Centre decides to go ahead.

The remarks by Uddhav, who heads a coalition government of the Shiv Sena, Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, went contrary to the line taken by the Congress party. The Congress, which has raised objections to certain questions which have been added to the NPR questionnaire, immediately sought to remind Uddhav that he is leads an alliance government and the decisions should be collective.

Congress’ Maharashtra in-charge Mallikarjun Kharge categorically said that the party will not allow the implementation of NPR, which is slated to begin from April. “Our stand is very clear. We will not implement NPR… What he is saying is his stand… We will tell him (Thackeray) that decisions should be taken by the three parties together. Because this is a decision of tiranga…not saffron alone. Till the three parties meet and take a decision, he should not allow NPR in the state,” Kharge told The Indian Express.

Kharge also contradicted Uddhav’s claim the NPR and Census are the same. He said that NPR and Census are different from each other and argued that the government has put additional questions in the NPR. “It has questions like birthplace, date of birth of father and months… people belonging to SC, ST and backward classes, those who are uneducated can’t tell the birthplace and birth dates of their parents,” he told the daily.

Stating that it will lead to the harassment of people, he said that Congress people in the Cabinet have already conveyed the party’s stand to the CM.

“Our party’s stand is clear. Whatever decision is taken by the all-India party…the same will be applicable to Maharashtra. Maharashtra cannot be an exception,” he said. When asked what Congress would do if Uddhav allows NPR, he replied, “Let us see…I cannot say anything unless we discuss the issue with NCP and the high command holds discussions.”

The latest development comes close on the heels of differences within the MVA constituents over Uddhav’s decision to transfer the controversial Elgar Parishad case to the NIA. NCP supremo Sharad Pawar publicly expressed displeasure over Uddhav’s decision and even termed as ‘most unfair’. The state government eventually decided to set up an SIT that will conduct a parallel inquiry.

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