Weeks after 19 lakh people were left out of Assam's list of citizens, the BJP has announced that passing the Citizenship (Amendment) bill - which makes it easier for non-Muslim immigrants to get Indian citizenship - in parliament is next on the party's agenda. BJP's main strategist in the northeast, Himanta Biswa Sarma, addressed two rallies in the state on Monday, saying the contentious bill will be passed by November.
"If no more hurdles come in the way, then the Citizenship (Amendment) bill will be passed in November," Mr Sarma said while addressing a rally in Assam's Silchar.
The bill proposes to accord Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after seven years of residence in India instead of 12 years, even if they don't have valid documents.
The legislation was passed in Lok Sabha in January this year, but lapsed after being stalled in the upper house of parliament.
The bill had triggered massive protests in many parts of the northeast.
"After the abrogation of Article 370 and 35 (A), and the passing of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, no one should ever doubt whether the BJP will pass the Citizenship (Amendment) bill or not. We will pass this bill in all likelihood by November," he said.
Mr Sarma, however, assured that all political parties will be taken into confidence.
"All parties will be taken into confidence for the same, especially those from the northeast to safeguard their cultural and linguistic rights. It was there in our election manifesto, and many before the general elections told us that we would not be able to win seats. But you can see for yourself the results," Mr Sarma said.
Before the national election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised that the proposed legislation will be implemented after "proper consultation with all sections of society".
The opposition, including the Congress, had called the BJP's move "communal".
The final National Register of Citizens' list - an exercise to weed out illegal immigrants - was published last month. The centre said those excluded from the list will not be treated as foreigners until they have exhausted all their legal options.
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