Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday reiterated that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) "should not be feared" by anyone after his "fruitful" meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi.
"We have discussed the Citizenship Amendment Act, National Register of Citizens and National Population Register (NPR). I have already cleared my stance on these issues. No one should be scared of CAA," Thackeray said.
"(CAA) ...is not to take citizenship away from anyone. However, this law is about giving citizenship to the minorities of the neighbouring countries," he added.
Regarding NRC, Thackeray referred to statements made by Modi amid sustained protests against the CAA, NRC, and NPR, when the prime minister had stated that there had been no talks of a nationwide NRC from the government.
Modi, in a rally at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan on 22 December, had said, "I want to tell the 130 crore people of India that ever since my government came to power in 2014... from then until now... there has been no discussion on NRC anywhere. We only had to implement it in Assam to follow Supreme Court directives."
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray: This law (CAA) is not to take away citizenship from anyone. However, this law is about giving citizenship to the minorities of the neighboring countries. https://t.co/XlQk8FbrAW
— ANI (@ANI) February 21, 2020
On Friday, addressing a press conference after his meeting with the prime minister, Thackeray added that the NPR "won't throw anyone out of the country". The NPR, a population exercise, is set to be completed in Maharashtra along with the Census between 1 May and 15 June, reports said.
On Tuesday, Thackeray had said that the Maharashtra government "won't block" the NPR exercise and that he will "personally check the columns" in the forms.
In a brief press conference after the meeting with Modi concluded on Friday evening, Uddhav also referred to the protests across the country since the CAA was passed by the Parliament on 12 December 2019, and said, "Those who are inciting protesters should read and understand the Act first."
When asked about leaders from the Congress party speaking in support of anti-CAA protesters, Thackeray said that there was "no tension" between the alliance partners of the Maharashtra government. The Congress, along with the NCP, is a key alliance partner in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government headed by Uddhav.
"There is no tension with alliance partners. We have finalised a common minimum programme (CMP) and we are working on the points agreed on. We have been talking to the Congress over the CAA, that is why there is peace in Maharashtra. There are no disagreements between the Congress and Shiv Sena," he said.
Downplaying the reports that the Congress and the NCP are miffed over the chief minister's stand on NPR and CAA, Thackeray asserted that the Maharashtra government will complete its five-year term.
In the context of Maharashtra, Thackeray told reporters that he had had a "good discussion" with Modi about issues concerning the state, including the Centre's crop insurance scheme among others.
"In the meeting, we agreed to put aside the politics between the parties and work in cooperation for Maharashtra's development," he said.
Friday's visit was Uddhav's first to the National Capital after taking over the reins of the state in the Assembly election held in October last year. The chief minister's son Aditya Thackeray, who is a minister in his Cabinet, also accompanied him.
The Shiv Sena chief was reportedly headed to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi after his meeting with the prime minister. He is also expected to meet veteran BJP leader LK Advani and Home Minister Amit Shah tonight.
The BJP and the Shiv Sena had a bitter fallout post the Assembly election in Maharashtra last year over the chief minister's post. The Sena later aligned with arch-rivals Congress and the NCP to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.
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Updated Date: Feb 21, 2020 20:02:15 IST