The Congress on Saturday said Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray needed a “briefing” to understand how the National Population Register was the basis of the National Register of Citizens. Thackeray, who formed a government with the Congress in Maharashtra in November, had expressed support for the NPR on Friday but had said his state would reject the NRC.
On Friday, the Shiv Sena chief met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a visit to New Delhi. After the meeting, he said the proposed National Register of Citizens would not be implemented in Maharashtra. However, he also said that nobody needs to be afraid of the Citizenship Amendment Act and that the National Population Register would not “throw anyone” out of the country. He made it clear that the NPR exercise would be stopped in the state if there were objections raised against the questionnaire for the register.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari on Saturday said: “Uddhav Thackeray requires a briefing on Citizenship Amendment Rules 2003 to understand how NPR is basis of NRC. Once you do NPR, you can not stop NRC. On CAA, [he] needs to be reacquainted with design of Indian Constitution that religion can not be basis of citizenship.”
The Congress has opposed all three – the Citizenship Amendment Act, the National Population Register and the 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. The National Population Register is said to be the first step towards creating an all-India National Register of Citizens.