However, no decision has been taken whether the Meghalaya Government would pull out of the BJP-led NDA at the Centre or remove the BJP from the MDA as it is a part of the coalition Government led by the National People’s Party (NPP).
It may be mentioned that the Union Cabinet on Monday cleared the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
The National People’s Party (NPP) is leading a six-party coalition Government under the leadership of Conrad K. Sangma.
Along with the BJP, the United Democratic Party (UDP), Hills State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP), People’s Democratic Front (PDF), NCP and Independents are also supporting the MDA Government.
A.L. Hek from the BJP is also one of ministers of the MDA Government.
“There is no confusion about our stand and we were the first State Government and State Cabinet to come out with an official resolution within the Cabinet that we are against the Bill,” Conrad Sangma told reporters on Monday.
The MDA Government had opposed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 through a State Cabinet decision taken on May 8 last year.
Conrad Sangma also made it clear that the NPP would not support the NDA Government in connection with the move to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955.
The Amendment Bill is aimed at amending the Citizenship Act to make Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, who left Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to escape religious persecution, eligible for Indian citizenship.
Regarding the BJP stand, which is a partner of the MDA Government, Conrad Sangma said, “It is the same minister (from the BJP) in the Cabinet who supported the Cabinet decision to reject the Amendment Bill. He (Hek) may be part of the BJP, but he has said it clearly during the Cabinet meeting that for him, protection of his people and State is a priority. I think one should be happy that a person from a particular party, puts the citizens and the people first.”
Asked about steps that his Government would take to pressurise the NDA Government not to go ahead with the Amendment Bill, Conrad Sangma said, “The State Government has opposed the Bill through a Cabinet decision, which is the most aggressive stand that any Government has taken.”
To another question if the NPP would come out of the BJP-led NDA at the Centre, Conrad Sangma said, “From our side, we have been very clear that this is something we will not support the NDA Government. We will see when the time comes, but as of now, we have made our stand clear that we are not supporting the Amendment Bill.”
The NPP and UDP from Meghalaya are also part of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) led by Assam Minister and BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma as the convenor.