MUMBAI: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday sought to end the confusion on where he stood on CAA-NRC-NPR, saying he was okay with the first and third acronyms, which stand for the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Population Register. His position mirrored that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has said multiple times that the Opposition is needlessly seeing a devil in the CAA and the NPR. By extension, the stand is at variance with that of the the Shiv Sena’s allies — the NCP and the Congress — widening the gulf within their three-party Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi.
Both the Congress and the NCP see the CAA-NCR-NPR as an anti-minorities package, but the Sena finds merit in the CAA and the NPR after dehyphenation. The only point of convergence within the Aghadi is on the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which Uddhav said he is against. But there, too, he is closer to Modi’s position that the Opposition should not needlessly rake it up, as the Centre has not even discussed the NRC internally. “If there are any issues with the questionnaire of the NPR, they can be studied and rectified. The CAA and the NRC are different from the NPR. No one has to worry if the CAA gets implemented. The NRC is not there and will not be implemented in the state,” Uddhav tweeted.
However, Maharashtra Congress president and state revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat was emphatic in opposing the CAA and the NPR. “Our stand is clear. We will not allow the Centre to implement the CAA, NRC and NPR, as they will divide the country on religious lines,” he said. Though the chief minister has taken a stand, Thorat claimed the Aghadi was yet to internally discuss the matter. “We will have meeting with our alliance partners and convince them that all three, CAA NRC and NPR, are divisive. We will oppose them,” Thorat said. NCP spokesperson and minority affairs minister Nawab Malik echoed Thorat.
On the National Investigation Agency (NIA) taking over the probe into the Elgar Parishad case, Uddhav clarified that Elgar and Bhima Koregaon violence are two different cases. While NIA will probe Elgar, Maharashtra will set up a special investigations team on the Bhima Koregaon violence. The crackdown on the so-called ‘Urban Maoists’ happened under the Elgar case.
Hair-splitting over Elgar, Bhima Koregaon
“The Elgar case has been taken up by the NIA but we will surely probe the Bhima Koregaon case. Bhima Koregaon case is connected to Dalits. This is sentimental issue and we will ensure justice is done to the Dalit community,” Uddhav said in a tweet. The Maharashtra government had recently okayed the handing over of investigation into the Elgar Parishad case to the National Investigation Agency.