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Centre may rethink on Citizenship Bill
Spl Correspondent

Leaders of political parties from the Northeast meeting Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to demand scrapping of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, in New Delhi on Sunday. – UB Photos
 NEW DELHI Feb 3 - Amid intense speculation, the Centre is reconsidering the move to bring the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Rajya Sabha, given the opposition from a section of NDA partners. Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu has convened a meeting tomorrow for further discussions on the business in the Upper House, when the government is expected to clarify whether it wants to bring the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and the triple talaq Bill for passage, sources said.

Meanwhile, several delegations from the Northeast continued to put pressure on the NDA government as well as its partners lobbying for withdrawal of the citizenship Bill. A joint delegation of 11 political parties led by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and the AGP on Sunday called on Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to plead for reconsidering their decision.

Singh, whose attitude was described as different from the last visit, conveyed that they would keep in mind the opposition to the Bill, while taking a final call.

Talking to newsmen after meeting the Union Home Minister, Sangma said Singh was very positive and he discussed in detail the concerns and sentiments of the people of the Northeast. Singh said that whatever the case may be, he will discuss with everybody and only then, they will decide how to move forward, Sangma informed.

At least, the Home Minister has reacted in a positive manner, Sangma said, adding that they are planning to call on the Prime Minister as well. He said Singh is also likely to call a meeting of the chief ministers of the Northeast as well as different sections of the society. The last meeting was postponed because of some communication gap, he said.

AGP president Atul Bora said the Home Minister was very clear today and he said that he understood the sentiments of the people of the Northeast. Singh told us that he has taken a serious note of what they had conveyed and the Centre will soon take a decision, he added.

“Today, he (Singh) told us that the government is aware about whatever is going on in the Northeast. He assured us that he would respect the sentiments of the people and political parties of the region,” Bora said.

A delegation of the All Assam Students Union (AASU) and North East Students Organisation (NESO) also called on NDA partners and others, including the Shiv Sena, Biju Janata Dal (U) and Trinamool Congress.

Talking to this newspaper, AASU advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya said they have requested the leaders of all the parties to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and stop the government from passing it.

Meanwhile, serious differences have emerged in the Congress party over allowing a meeting between AICC president Rahul Gandhi and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) leader Akhil Gogoi.

Senior leaders, including former chief minister Tarun Gogoi, opposed the action of the PCC and questioned the rationale behind requesting the AICC for such a meeting. Tarun Gogoi told this newspaper that when the matter had come for discussion, it was decided that they would fix a meeting between the AASU, the original signatory of the Assam Accord, and Dr Hiren Gohain.

“I was not even consulted before fixing a meeting with Akhil Gogoi,” rued Gogoi, who is learnt to have raised the issue with AICC leaders.

Sources said the original meeting with Rahul Gandhi was between the representatives of the six communities of Assam and Akhil Gogoi. However, the six communities cancelled their meeting scheduled tomorrow because of the meeting with the State government appointed Cabinet Committee.

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