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Ex-CM of Meghalaya says Modi lacks knowledge about N-E, demands Sonowal’s resignation over Citizenship Bill

Shillong, Jan 6 (IANS) Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of lacking knowledge about the huge diversity of India’s northeastern states, former Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma on Sunday demanded resignation of Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal over the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

Sangma, the leader of Opposition, urged ruling regional parties, which are partners in the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance in the northeastern states, to severe ties with the saffron party in the interest of the indigenous people in the region.

“I am amused by the statement of Sonowal who said he will protect the interest of the people. Can he (Sonowal) dictate terms to Narendra Modi when he (Modi) is taking the decision (Citizenship (Amendment) Bill) and Sonowal is saying don’t worry? ” he asked.

“I demand his resignation from his post and the BJP. He is there by virtue of of his long innings with the All Assam Students’ Union and he has positioned himself in a manner that he can be in the reckoning in political spectrum of the region,” the veteran Congress leader told journalists after chairing a Congress legislature party meeting.

Sangma urged regional political parties to “scrutinize” and “audit” the intent and agenda of the ruling BJP-led NDA government on its decision to go ahead with proposed amendment Bill that seeks to grant citizenship to religious minority communities – Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians – from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan – in India.

He said there is anger among all stakeholders in the region over the proposed Bill. “Anger and frustration are precursors to chaos and disorder and this does not augur well for the national integration. What is more important today is to fight against those forces who want to vitiate harmony.”

Asked if the Congress supports the northeast shutdown sponsored by the apex North East Students’ Organisation in protest against the proposed Bill, Sangma said, “We are with the people. We will not get distracted by any other issue. Citizenship issue is important and is something which we should focus on because we are talking about the unity and integration of the region and the nation,” he said.

–IANS

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