SHILLONG: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma will lead a delegation, including members from the BJP, to New Delhi on Thursday to air its opposition against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, a senior state minister said Wednesday.
The delegation will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to express their "unhappiness" over the Bill, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong told reporters here after a cabinet meeting.
He said the team will comprise all the members of the ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA), which include the BJP, NCP and some regional parties.
"We are leaving tomorrow and will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to lodge our unhappiness with the intention of the Central government for passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill," Tynsong said.
The state cabinet had passed a resolution to oppose the Bill last year.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which was passed in the Lok Sabha last week, provides for according Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12 years, which is the norm currently, even if they do not possess any document.
A large section of people and organisations in the northeast have opposed the bill saying it will nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985, which fixed March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for deportation of illegal immigrants irrespective of religion.
On the growing demand for the state government to come up with an official resolution in the Assembly with regards to the Citizenship Amendment Bill, Tynsong said the question of passing a resolution does not arise.
"It (official resolution) does not carry any weight as opposition (to it) has already been lodged by government as well as the Opposition parties," he said.
The Meghalaya deputy chief minister said the state government had already submitted its letter of opposition to the Bill to the Centre through the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), which visited the state last year.
To another query, Tynsong said unlike the opposition Congress which is divided over the issue, the ruling National People's Party has maintained a firm stand to oppose the Bill.
"I request the Congress to please be united on this issue," he said.