The Shiromani Akali Dal on Monday said it would not contest the Delhi Assembly elections, PTI reported. The polls for all 70 seats in Delhi will be held on February 8, and the results will be announced on February 11.
Rajouri Garden MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa said ally Bharatiya Janata Party had asked the Akali Dal to reconsider its opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act during three poll-related meetings held in connection with the polls. “During our meeting with the BJP, we were asked to reconsider our stand on CAA but we declined to do so,” the Akali Dal leader added. “Shiromani Akali Dal is of the firm stand that Muslims cannot be left out of CAA.”
Sirsa said the party was also against the proposed National Register of Citizens. “We want that there should be no law which makes people stand in queues and prove their credentials,” the politician said, according to ANI. “This is a great nation and there is no space for communalism.”
The legislator said the Akali Dal does not want India to be “divided over religion”, NDTV reported. “We will prefer not contesting polls rather than changing our stand.”
The Citizenship Amendment Act, passed by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims. Twenty-six people died in last month’s protests against the law – all in the BJP-ruled states of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Assam.
The National Register of Citizens is a proposed exercise to distinguish between undocumented migrants and Indian citizens. Nineteen lakh people were excluded in one such exercise carried out in Assam last year.