SHILLONG: Former Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma of the Congress Sunday urged political parties of the Northeastern region to snap their partnership with the BJP following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement that the Citizenship Bill would be passed in the Parliament soon.
Sangma also likened Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to Judas, a close disciple of Jesus Christ widely believed to have betrayed the Lord, after he the BJP led Assam government would not harm the people's interests.
He also dared Sonowal to quit the BJP and his post to safeguard the interests of the indigenous people of Assam as the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre is moving ahead with The Citizenship Bill.
The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955.
It seeks to grant citizenship to people from minority communities - Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh after six years of residence in India instead of 12 even if they do not possess any proper document.
The citizenship bill has been opposed by a large section of people and organisations in the Northeast.
Urging leaders of parties in Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram and other states across the region where the BJP is part of the government to end their partnership with the saffron party, Sangma said, "We should send a strong signal if we love our people and if we care for the interest of the indigenous people."
All the northeastern states are now ruled either by the saffron party or others supported by it. Sikkim's ruling SDF is also friendly with the BJP.
Sangma said it is time for the regional parties to scrutinise the agenda of the BJP and their comrades if they all stand to protect the interest of the indigenous people.
Training his guns at Sonowal, the leader of the opposition in Meghalaya Assembly said he was amused by the statement of Sarbananda Sonowal.
After the prime minister's announcement about going ahead with the Bill raised a hue and cry, Sonowal said his government would never do anything to harm the interests of the people of Assam.
"When the prime minister announced a policy, he is a silent spectator. Can he dictate terms to Modi? He should resign from the BJP, quit his post and say hey, look Mr Modi, I cannot be a party to anti-people decision," Sangma said.
"In the name of the protecting the indigenous people of the region, these people have become Judas," he said.
The senior Congress leader compared the Citizenship Bill with the Assam Accord, and asked, "Don't they know the history? The Assam Accord and the turmoil vitiated by it? We have paid for these kinds of situations before."
This is the reason for further disintegration of the nation, he said adding that they cannot ignore North East.
The BJP and its allies have set a target to win 21 out of the 25 parliamentary seats in eight states in the region and in Assam the party hopes to win at least 11 of the 14 seats.