Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday said the proposed National Register of Citizens would not be implemented in Maharashtra. The exercise intends to identify undocumented immigrants across India. “NRC is problematic to every citizen, irrespective of caste, creed, religion any which way, and won’t let it come to Maharashtra,” he added after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday during his first visit to New Delhi after taking oath in November, PTI reported.
After the meeting, Thackeray told reporters at a press conference that he discussed the Citizenship Amendment Act, the citizenship register, and the National Population Register with Modi.
Thackeray asserted that nobody needs to be afraid of the Citizenship Amendment Act. “The oppressed minorities will be benefitted,” he added, according to NDTV. “The central government has said NRC will not be implemented across the country. If we see any dangers befalling the citizens, we will oppose it then.”
However, the Centre still needs to answer questions about the implementation, practicality and settlement of refugees granted citizenship under the amended law, he added.
“The National Population Register [is] not going to throw anyone out of [the] country,” Thackeray said. He also made it clear that the NPR exercise would be stopped in the state if there were objections raised against the questionnaire. “If there are new columns proposed in the NPR, they will be scrutinised by our government and if it seems problematic we won’t take it ahead,” he tweeted.
“The NPR is proposed along with the Census,” Thackeray added. “It happened in 2010 too. Census happens every 10 years in our country.”
The National Population Register is the first step towards creating an all-India National Register of Citizens. As critics have noted, the NRC, in tandem with the Citizenship Amendment Act, could be used to render many Indian Muslims stateless since the citizenship law excludes Muslims.
Earlier this month, the Shiv Sena chief had expressed support for the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Population Register, while clarifying that the National Register of Citizens would not be implemented in the state. His position is at odds with that of the Congress, which has opposed all three.
The chief minister added that he also discussed state problems with Modi. He added that Modi had promised to extend all cooperation necessary in the performance of its functions.
Thackeray was accompanied by his son and Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray. The Shiv Sena chief met Congress President Sonia Gandhi and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader LK Advani at their residences later in the evening, ANI reported.
Formerly an ally of the BJP, the Shiv Sena formed an alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress after the BJP rejected its demand for a shared chief minister’s post in October, following the Maharashtra Assembly elections. However, recently, there have been problems within the alliance.
Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar earlier this month expressed his displeasure over the Maharashtra government allowing the National Investigation Agency to take over the probe into the Bhima Koregaon case, a move initiated by the BJP-ruled Centre. Pawar also claimed that he had “heard” that the state government would initiate its own probe, and two days later, Uddhav Thackeray announced an inquiry.
However, Thackeray said on Friday that there is no friction in the Maharashtra government, and that it will complete its five-year term, PTI reported.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Thursday sought to downplay Uddhav Thackeray’s meeting with Modi. “Yes, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi tomorrow,” Raut tweeted. “This is a usual meeting. There is no need to speculate. Jai Maharashtra!”
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Higher and Technical Education Minister Uday Samant met Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia to talk about the education model in the city. “We have thought to collaborate in future as well as start this pattern in Maharashtra,” he told ANI.