Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy has said he wants to reassure the Muslim population in his state that he will not accept the NRC or National Registry of Citizens that is seen to have raised apprehension in the community.
Jagan Reddy made the statement in Kadapa, where he opened work on a steel plant on Monday. He said he was reiterating the public statement made by his deputy Azmath Basha Shaik Bepari a week ago and reassured all that he endorsed it in full.
"I was asked by my minority brothers to make a statement on the NRC. I want to make it clear that we will oppose the NRC and there is no way Andhra Pradesh will support it," Jagan Reddy said.
But the YSR Congress leadership has clarified that Jagan Reddy's comments do not mean an about-turn on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which the party supported in Parliament.
"We see the CAA and NRC as distinct from each other. The CAA is about providing the option of citizenship to minorities persecuted elsewhere, outside the country. We have issued a clarification on the NRC to set at rest the apprehensions of the Muslim population in Andhra Pradesh. There is no U-turn and we see no contradiction,'' Sajjala Ramakrishna, political adviser to the chief minister, told NDTV.
Andhra Pradesh has about 11-12 per cent Muslims and they have a bigger presence in the Rayalaseema region that the chief minister was touring.
There is now increased pressure on Jagan Reddy's Telangana counterpart K Chandrasekhar Rao, aka KCR, to make his stand clear on the NRC. On Sunday, the Congress "set a deadline" for KCR to express his stand.
The Telangana Rashtra Samiti had opposed the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament but the chief minister has not made any public statement addressing the concerns over the law since.
Many Chief Ministers have declared that they will not implement NRC in their state - Mamata Banerjee (Bengal), Nitish Kumar (Bihar), Naveen Patnaik (Odisha), Amarinder Singh (Punjab), Kamal Nath (Madhya Pradesh) Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan) and Pinarayi Vijayan (Kerala).