The central government has promised that there will not be a nationwide exercise to make people prove their citizenship through a National Register of Citizens or NRC and so there is no need to be concerned about the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Friday following a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi.
Plans of a pan-India NRC, announced by Home Minister Amit Shah in parliament and later refuted by the government, have been a major point of contention against the CAA that was enacted into law this year.
The law which promises citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from three neighbouring countries, had stoked fears that Muslims who are not able to prove their citizenship will be declared foreigners if a nationwide NRC was prepared on the lines of Assam.
"We discussed CAA, NRC and NPR (National Population Register). I have made my stand clear on these...There is no need to fear the CAA. The oppressed minorities will be benefitted. The central government has said NRC will not be implemented across the country. If we see any dangers befalling the citizens, we will oppose it then," Mr Thackeray said.
The chief minister also made it clear that the NPR exercise would be stopped in the state if there were objections raised against the questionnaire.
The CAA has also been a sticking point between the Shiv Sena and its two ideologically disparate partners in Maharashtra, the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) which are both ardent opponents of the NRC and CAA.
The Sena had forged the coalition after ditching long-time ally BJP following last year's state polls and this was Mr Thackeray's first meeting with PM Modi after taking over as the chief minister of Maharashtra.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar, who had a crucial role in bringing together the Sena and the Congress, said on Tuesday they will work out the differences with Uddhav Thackeray's party. "We will convince the Sena," he said.
On Friday, speaking to journalists after his meeting with PM Modi, Uddhav Thackeray played down the friction between the parties and the alliance will last its full five-year term.
"We have made up our minds. We are following the Common Minimum Programme. There is no problem," Mr Thackeray said.
The Shiv Sena leader is also met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and is expected to meet BJP veteran LK Advani and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi.
Congress general secretary Mallikarjun Kharge said that the differences over CAA, NRC and NPR was up to the state leadership to sort out.