By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2020-02-23 11:38:58
A tiger does not change its stripes easily. It took just one meeting with Prime Minister Modi to convince Uddhav Thackeray that there is nothing wrong with the CAA and that the NPR is not going to do any harm to anyone. To the consternation of his alliance partners in Maharashtra, he has now been convinced and has said that both the CAA and the NPR will be implemented in the state. Although Thackeray said NRC will not be implemented in Maharashtra, he also said that no one should fear the NPR.
The Congress was immediately worried and said that the chief minister needed to be briefed about the CAA and the process of NPR and NRC. Party leader Manish Tewari took to twitter to say that CM Maharashtra @UddhavThackeray requires a briefing on Citizenship Amendment Rules -2003 to understand how NPR is basis of NRC. Once you do NPR you cannot stop NRC. On CAA-needs to be reacquainted with design of Indian Constitution that religion cannot be basis of Citizenship.
Doesn't Tewari realize that Uddhav Thackeray has been briefed by no less a person than the Prime Minister of India. Although Thackeray has now joined hands with the Congress and the NCP to form the government in Maharashtra, it does not mean he will junk the Hindutva agenda for which his party stands or for which his father Balasaheb worked his entire life. Political expediency and a desire to escape the clutches of 'big brother' BJP made it 'sleep' with the enemy but the Shiv Sena cannot be expected to antagonize its core Hindu constituency.
Uddhav Thackeray's stand on CAA and NPR raises doubts about the future of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government he heads in Maharashtra with the Congress and the NCP as partners. Although Thackeray has said that there is no dispute among the coalition partners and the government will complete its term of five years, the Congress is visibly agitated at his recent views as they go against its stand on the issue. The NCP is already miffed at Thackeray for allowing the NIA to take over the Koregaon-Bhima case despite strong objection from Sharad Pawar. It remains to be seen whether Thackeray changes his stand after the "briefing" Manish Tiwari wishes to hold for him or the issue snowballs into a showdown between the coalition partners.