With the contentious Citizenship Amendment bill listed to be tabled in parliament during the ongoing winter session, the Asom Gana Parishad, BJP's ally which had opposed the legislation earlier this year, has said its stand on the issue is unchanged. The party has urged the ruling BJP to have discussions with its northeast allies before going forward with the bill.
The bill makes it easier for Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from neighbouring countries to get Indian citizenship. The previous BJP government had introduced the bill in parliament but could not push through amid massive protests by a united opposition. The bill had later lapsed.
The tabling of the bill had triggered massive protests in the northeast states earlier this year. The AGP had severed ties with the government over the issue. However, a month before the national election in May, the two parties had come together again.
"You all are aware of our stand on citizenship bill and there is no change in our stand. Amit Shah had assured us of a meeting earlier. He assured us the interest of northeast will not be harmed and I am sure he will keep the promise," AGP president and Assam Agriculture minister Atul Bora told NDTV.
Last week, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, an ally of the BJP, had urged the party to hold more consultation with its northeast partners before going ahead with the bill.
Meanwhile, sources have said the BJP is likely to hold consultative meeting with its regional allies. Before tabling the bill, the party wants to build consensus among its partners over the issue.
The centre's decision to table the contentious bill triggered protests in many northeast states on Monday, after months of calm. Members of the Northeast Students' Organisation (NESO) took out rallies in Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
In Assam, members of the All Assam Students' Union (AASU) marched up to a point near the Raj Bhavan in Guwahati from where a small group submitted a memorandum to Governor Jagdish Mukhi. They said they want the bill to be scrapped.
An 18-hour shutdown had been also been observed in Manipur by protesting groups.