A fortnight after the BJP managed to convince its allies to vote for the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Parliament, bringing the legislation into force, the support for it seems to be waning.
One of its oldest allies, the Shiromani Akali Dal, has now spoken against the National Register of Citizens (NRC) after voting in favour of the CAB in the Parliament. SAD Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Gujral has said that it does not support the NRC, and as a party representing a minority community, it wanted the Muslims to be included under the Citizenship Amendment Act.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, which got the President’s nod on December 13, had led to widespread protests across the country. Protests against the legislation sparked off in the Northeast over fears of an influx of undocumented individuals, and outside the region continued to invite allegations of divisive politics from opposition parties.
The new law provided citizenship to non-Muslim minorities from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The BJP has defended its move by saying that the legislation only fastracks citizenship, and does not take it from anyone. Peaceful protests continued across the country, but the situation in Uttar Pradesh remained tense. Amid allegations of police brutality, the death toll has now risen to 18.
Fears that a National Register of Citizens will follow in the wake of CAA, which will require Indians to prove their citizenship, thereby disenfranchising many has been the key reason of the protests. In Assam, the updating of the NRC under a Supreme Court directive, has left out 19 lakh people.
A look at the position of the NDA allies on CAA-NRC
Lending support to the CAB in the Parliament has led to a loss of confidence among the AIADMK’s electoral base. So much so, that the Tamil Nadu secretariat even received bomb threats on phone for the support it lent to the CAB. Rajya Sabha MP SR Balasubramoniyan had termed the support a result of the “compulsions of alliance”. On the NRC, however, its stand remained unclear. Yet, state minister Nilofer Kafeel, while assuaging the fears of people over the CAA-NRC, said that she, too, is scared. “I am scared. I can’t deny it. I am also a Muslim and from the same community,” Kafeel said.
Janata Dal (United)
The support for the CAB in the Parliament has led to a rift within the party with leaders Prashant Kishor and Pavan Varma speaking out publicly against Bihar CM Nitish Kumar’s decision to support it. Soon after, Nitish Kumar was the first NDA chief minister to come out against the NRC.
Lok Janshakti Party
After lending support to the Bill in the Parliament, the LJP lated asked for “discussions” on the CAA. President Chirag Paswan later sent out a series of tweets saying that the BJP has failed to dispel the fear among the people. On the NRC, Paswan has said that he will not support it unless the concerns of the people are addressed.
Asom Gana Parishad
The Assam ally, which supported the Bill in the Parliament, has faced the ire of the people in the state, with many workers quitting the party. Faced with unprecedented opposition to its stand for being supporting the CAB while its leaders were signatory to the Assam Accord, the AGP has now approached the Supreme Court opposing CAA. Leader Prafulla Mahanta has spoken against it vocally.
Biju Janata Dal
While not an ally, the BJD had backed the CAB in the Parliament. BJD leader and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik said that since the Bill was only for foreigners, the party supported it. On the NRC, the party has made its stand clear — that it will not support it.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi
Usually supportive of the BJP, the TRS took everyone by surprise when it opposed the CAB in the Parliament. The party stands opposed to the NRC, too. Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, in fact, appealed to all parties to opposed to and National Register of Citizens to take party in a rally called for by AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Friday in Hyderabad.
YSR Congress Party
The YSR Congress Party which supported the CAB in the Parliament has now opposed the NRC. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy has said that it will not allow NRC in his state.