BJP ally threatens to quit NDA over citizenship bill

BJP ally threatens to quit NDA over citizenship bill

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma and former Meghalaya chief minister Donkupar Roy attend the N E Region's Political Parties Convention on Citizenship Amendment Bill, in Guwahati, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019. (PTI Photo)

The National Peoples' Party (NPP), which leads Meghalaya government with the BJP as an ally, on Saturday decided to quit the NDA if the Citizenship (Amendment) bill is passed.

The decision was taken at Shillong during the party's general body meeting, wherein Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma was re-elected as NPP's national president for the second consecutive term.

"The party had a thorough discussion on the Citizenship bill and adopted a resolution to oppose it, which will be submitted to the Centre. The party has also decided that if this bill is passed in the Rajya Sabha, NPP will break away from the NDA,” a statement quoting Sangma said.

The development comes hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in neighbouring Assam that passage of the bill was important to keep the BJP's "national commitment" to protect the "persecuted minorities" from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, who had taken shelter in India."

Conrad is leading a forum of at least 11 regional parties in the Northeast, including eight allies of the BJP, to oppose the bill.

The Asom Gana Parishad quit the BJP-led coalition government in Assam on January 7, a day before the bill was passed in the Lok Sabha.

The Mizo National Front, which recently came to power in Mizoram, said that it would not hesitate to quit the NDA if the bill is passed.

The NPP has also decided to contest in all the 24 Lok Sabha seats in the seven Northeastern states and in all the 60 Assembly seats in Arunachal Pradesh.