Guwahati, March 27, 2019
Former bureaucrat and Congress’ candidate for Tezpur parliamentary constituency, MGVK Bhanu has asked Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to make its stand clear on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 before the Lok Sabha Elections 2019.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, to grant nationality to people belonging to minority communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians — in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of their residence in India. Massive protests broke out across the Northeast region after the Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha.
“We and our president Rahul Gandhi has always been vocal about our party’s stand on the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. We stand with the people of Assam. We will never introduce this Bill once we come to government,” said Bhanu while speaking to media on March 27th, 2019.
He added, “The BJP should make its stand clear on the Bill before the Lok Sabha elections.”
The Citizenship Bill was not tabled in the Upper House of the Parliament on February 13th, 2019. The BJP government at the Centre has been pitching for the early passage of the legislation. The Bill is set to lapse on June 3rd, 2019 when the term of the present Lok Sabha ends.
Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the BJP has begun discussions with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) on introducing safeguards in the much-debated Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
“We have tried to discuss the Bill logically with the AGP. We have discussed introducing safeguards in the Bill to ensure that it does not affect people’s sentiments. We have started discussions with the AGP on the safeguards. We are doing the same with our other partners in the Northeast. We will come to a conclusion that is acceptable to all parties. We will prepare a more acceptable draft of the Bill. Hopefully, we will see the Bill next June or July,” said Sarma, as quoted by The Indian Express.