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Congress reaffirms its stand on NRC
 NEW DELHI, Sept 13 - The Congress party on Friday issued a gag order on its leaders, reaffirming its old stand on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and warned leaders against crossing the party-line.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi today convened a meeting of all PCC chiefs and Congress Legislature Party leaders of the Northeast and held discussions on various issues concerning the region.

The meeting was also attended by former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Ahmed Patel, advisor to the Congress president, AICC general secretaries KC Venugopal and in-charge for Northeast Lousiano Felerio, among others.

Senior Congress leaders, including former Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Nabam Tuki, PCC president Ripun Bora, CLP leader Debobrata Saikia were among senior Congress leaders of the Northeast who attended the meeting.

Later, briefing newsmen, Ripun Bora said the meeting held a lengthy discussion on the NRC exercise and its fallout and implications and the views of the State party units on extending the NRC exercise to other parts of the country.

The party also took note of the government’s claim to reintroduce the Citizenship Amendment Bill and sought reactions of the NE State leaders, added Bora.

The Congress’ stand on NRC is clear, Bora said, adding that there has been no change in stand of the party.

The guidelines approved by the Supreme Court that March 24, 1971 will be the cutoff date and all those who came to Assam till then will be accommodated in the NRC. Genuine Indian citizens whose names have been excluded from the final NRC should be included and that the Congress will fight on their behalf, Bora said. The Congress is ready to help all those whose names should have been included in NRC but left out, he added.

Asked about divergence of views among Congress leaders, Bora said nobody can cross the party-line and if anyone does so, it will be taken as anti-party activity.

Recently, senior Congress leader Debobrata Saikia and former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi were engaged in an open spat over the party’s stand on the NRC.

The meeting also took views of the NE State leaders on withdrawal of the Special Category States status. The Naga peace accord was also discussed, he said.

The meeting also decided to strengthen the North East Congress Coordination Committee and agreed to set up a permanent base in Guwahati and meeting will be held by rotation in all northeastern States, said Bora.

The party further alleged that the BJP government has diluted all the special programmes especially chalked out for the NE States. The NECC will raise these issues from time to time, he said.

Talking to newsmen, CLP leader Debobrata Saikia said, “We have all been asked to speak in one voice and the AICC has directed us to help all those whose names have been left out of the NRC. It was reiterated today that Congress is committed to help all those whose names have been left out of the NRC,” added Saikia.

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