New Delhi: With 10 non-BJP chief ministers stating categorically that they would not allow the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) or National Register of Citizens (NRC) in their states, dissent has spread to 274 of India's Lok Sabha seats 543 or one out every two parliamentary constituencies in the country.
Of these, the largest states, in terms of their representation in the lower House of Parliament, are Maharashtra and West Bengal.
Although the Shiv Sena voted in favour of the Bill in the Lok Sabha and walked out in the Rajya Sabha, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has said the party would wait for the outcome of the petitions filed in the Supreme Court against the amended Act before deciding on the implementation in Maharashtra.
He has also said that by introducing CAA, the Indian government was making Hindu minorities living in neighbouring countries insecure. “States like Assam, Tripura and Delhi are burning. I feel the BJP has made a policy to divert attention,” he said, earlier this week.
West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee has repeatedly said that neither the CAA nor the NRC would be implemented in any of Bengal’s 42 Lok Sabha seats.
She has been agitating against the new law over the past few days and has also dared the Union government to invite a United Nations-monitored referendum in India over the issue of CAA-NRC.
"Suddenly after 73 years of independence, we have to prove that we are Indian citizens. Where was the BJP's head and tail at that time? The BJP is dividing the country. Don't stop your protest because we have to get CAA revoked,” she said.
Meanwhile, after facing criticism from different quarters for backing the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament, Andhra Pradesh’s ruling YSR Congress Party has said it would oppose the implementation of the NRC in any format.
Deputy Chief Minister SB Amjath Basha told reporters on Wednesday the party would not extend it support to the NRC in Parliament.
“When I apprised the Chief Minister (Jagan Mohan Reddy) of the concerns of Muslims, he said the YSRCP is sympathetic towards minorities, especially Muslims, and will take every step to protect their interests,” Basha said.
Nitish Kumar, whose party is in alliance with the BJP, became the latest CM to join the list of those who said the NRC would not be implemented in Bihar (40 Lok Sabha seats).
“I take the guarantee that minority communities cannot be ignored and no wrong can happen to them as long as we are at the helm." His party had voted in favour of the CAA in both the houses of Parliament.
Naveen Patnaik of the Biju Janta Dal (BJD) maintained that his party would not support the NRC. The BJD, though, had backed the CAA in the House, Patnaik said, "The amended Citizenship Act has nothing to do with Indians. It deals only with foreigners. The BJD MPs both in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha have made it clear that we do not support the NRC."
Kerala Chief Minister and Left leader Pinarayi Vijayan has also maintained that the CAA was unconstitutional. In rare political bonhomie, the LDF and UDF joined forces in Kerala and protested against the CAA. "The people in Kerala declares complete solidarity with the ongoing protests across the country," Vijayan said. The Left had voted against the bill in both houses.
Apart from this, the Congress chief minister of Rajasthan (25 Lok Sabha seats), Madhya Pradesh (29 Lok Sabha seats), Chhattisgarh (Lok Sabha seats) have all rejected the CAA-NRC combine.