Uddhav Thackeray, Sonia Gandhi on same page over CAA, says Sanjay Raut

Updated: Feb 25, 2020, 07:38 IST | Hemal Ashar | Mumbai

Congress and Sena's stated stands on the CAA expose chinks in the MVA alliance.

Citizens protest against the CAA at Azad Maidan on Sunday. Pic/PTI
Citizens protest against the CAA at Azad Maidan on Sunday. Pic/PTI

With Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray throwing his weight behind the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Population Register (NPR) but not the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the MVA is facing awkward moments, testing the thickest of political skins.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has gone on record stating that nobody should be afraid of the CAA-NPR and they will certainly not result in anyone's citizenship being
taken away.

Yet, with the Congress stridently opposing CAA, the question being thrown at the ally in the Shiv Sena-led alliance is whether they will exit the coalition on this big difference. The Congress's Maharashtra high command refused to answer that question directly, simply saying, "We are in discussions with the coalition partners and the chief minister. The Congress's disapproval of the combined CAA-NPR-NRC is a national stand, and there is no ambiguity nor any dilution as far as Congress workers are concerned."

'No problem'

If the state unit sticks to its guns, Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut's statement about the Congress at the Centre seems to skewer the equation even further and compound confusion. Sena leader Raut said, "The Maharashtra Congress's high command is entitled to an opinion. CM Uddhav Thackerayji recently had a meeting with Sonia Gandhiji. I was present and I know what is going on. It was a detailed discussion on the CAA. There is total understanding between Soniaji and Uddhavji, there is no problem. I state categorically that the Shiv Sena is extremely concerned about the security of the nation."

While Raut did not say in so many words that Congress leader Sonia Gandhi also endorsed CAA, he did mention there was an "understanding" between the Maharashtra CM and her.

Nawab Malik, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) neta, refused to say that they are against the CAA. He chose the safer option telling this reporter, "Do understand that the CAA is not under our purview. The NRC is not going to be implemented in the state. In the NPR, the questionnaire will be finalised by all three parties and then we will see how to go about it." This statement is a reiteration of Malik's earlier stand.

'Dialogue is happening'

With the state's coalition partners, one claiming dissent and the other taking recourse in discussion, do anti-CAA protestors trust the MVA? One of the organisers of the Mumbai Bagh protest against CAA-NPR-NRC Firoze Mithiborwala maintained that the CAA, "is discriminatory and this is not a question of trust. There are lots of initiatives going on, there are groups meeting different political parties. We have to build sufficient public pressure so that the government realises that CAA is discriminatory. There is a committee formed and they are looking into it, dialogue is happening so we have to wait and see."

Dolphy D'Souza of the Bombay Catholic Sabha (BCS) whose organisation held an anti-CAA meet in Bandra recently said, "When there is a coalition, there will always be an element of dialogue which needs to be continued with patience and openness. Having said that I do know, however, that in politics what is postured today may not be what happens tomorrow."

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