SAD opposes all-India NRC, seeks NDA coordination

Last Updated 26 December 2019, 14:50 IST

BJP's oldest ally Shiromani Akali Dal on Thursday opposed the roll out of the National Register of Citizens across the country, claiming the proposed exercise has created insecurity among Muslims.

Akali Dal leader and Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Gujral also sought improved coordination among NDA allies "as used to be during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government".

"We represent Sikhs, which are a minority, and are thus more sensitive to the feelings and concerns of (other) minorities. We do not want Muslims to become insecure. We do not want any minority to feel insecure in any way in view of the fact that after 1984, Sikhs had started feeling insecure," Gujral told PTI.

"After 1984, we felt the Congress isolated Sikhs completely from the mainstream to serve their political ends. We feel in a secular country, no minority should ever feel they are being isolated or are being targeted," he added.

Gujral said NRC should not be implemented in the country and the BJP government should "rethink" the exercise.

Punjabis, by and large, and Sikhs in particular, he said, believe in the philosophy of the Gurus, which is tolerance, compassion and equality and 'sarbat ka bhala' (good for everyone).

"The NRC is causing a lot of misgivings in the minds of Muslims. The NRC should not be implemented. We are categorically against the NRC. It is up to the government to say so, that the NRC would not be implemented all over the country," he said.

Gujral said the SAD wants Muslims to be included in the Citizenship Amendment Act and this has been stated by the party in Parliament too when the bill was taken up for discussion and passed.

The Akali Dal supported the bill in Parliament.

"We supported it because 60,000 Sikhs were involved. They have been fighting for the last 60 years to get citizenship. We were in 'dharam sakat' and we want 'sarbat ka bhala'," Gujral said.

He said there should be peace and harmony in the country and no division on the basis of religion.

On strains emerging between the Akali Dal and the BJP, especially after the Shiv Sena moved out of NDA, Gujral said, "We are the oldest ally of the BJP. We are part of the NDA and will remain so."

"Any issue between us are internal and will be sorted out within the NDA," he said but called for better coordination among alliance partners, as used to be during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

He felt it was "unfortunate" that discussions and consultations within NDA were not happening, especially on contentious issues.

(Published 26 December 2019, 14:41 IST)

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