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Rahul meets State groups on Citizenship Bill

By Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Feb 4 - Notwithstanding the stiff opposition of the Congress to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the party�s central leadership is reluctant to turn it into a national agenda.

This was claimed by Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) adviser Akhil Gogoi, after his meeting with Congress president Rahul Gandhi here this afternoon. Gandhi met representatives of the All Assam Students� Union (AASU), North East Students� Organisation (NESO) and Forum Against Citizenship Act Amendment Bill, besides the KMSS.

Talking to newsmen, Akhil Gogoi said he spoke with Gandhi on four-five points. �We requested Gandhi to keep India secular and democratic, and that he should treat the issue as a national agenda instead of treating it as a Northeast-centric issue. Rahul Gandhi told us that the Congress will never allow the culture, language, society of the Northeast to be destroyed,� Gogoi said.

�We told him that we don�t want guarantee for only the Northeast, but a guarantee that India remains a secular and democratic nation, and the Congress party should take up this issue as a national agenda. He listened but he didn�t give a clear answer that the Congress will ensure floor management and a joint opposition by other UPA partners. He told us that he will discuss the issue at the party forum and inform us about the party�s stand in the next few days,� the KMSS adviser said.

�We didn�t get a clear answer to what we had asked, and we conveyed to the Congress party that if they don�t play an active role in defeating the Bill and treat it as a national agenda, then the people of Assam and the Northeast will not accept them,� Gogoi said, adding that Rahul Gandhi assured him of 100 per cent cooperation in the Parliament to defeat the Bill.

AICC general secretary Harish Rawat and PCC president Ripun Bora, however, denied KMSS leader�s contention and said that Gogoi was trying to mislead. Bora and Rawat claimed that the Congress party is committed to oppose the Bill at any cost.

Later, the NESO president said they have requested Gandhi to go all out against the Bill. �Gandhi has assured us that he will not allow anyone to crush the culture, language and identity of the indigenous people of the Northeast. The Congress party is for implementation of the Assam Accord,� he said.

Gandhi also mentioned that the Congress party would oppose the Bill if it comes to Rajya Sabha, he said. �We hope that he will take a call... We hope the Congress party will work with their allies in order to stop this Bill,� he said.

Talking to newsmen, AASU advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya said they requested Gandhi to oppose the Bill. �Since the Bill has been passed in Lok Sabha and is pending in Rajya Sabha, the government may bring it anytime, and we appealed him to oppose the Bill by not boycotting the House but voting against it,� he said.

�We have also appealed him to discuss the issue with the allies of the UPA and ensure that the Bill is not passed in the Upper House at any cost. If the UPA abstains from the House then there is every possibility of the Bill being passed in Rajya Sabha. We requested him to take every step to ensure that the Bill is not passed in the Upper House,� he said.

�We have also told Gandhi that we will not allow anyone to finish the language, culture, heritage and identity of the indigenous people, and the Congress should be committed to implement the Assam Accord and they should oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill,� Bhattacharya said.

�We have talked to all opposition parties, including TMC, Janata Dal (U), Shiv Sena and Samajwadi Party. We have talked to everyone who is in a position to vote and defeat the Bill,� the AASU adviser said.

Emerging from the meeting, Dr Hiren Gohain said they explained to Gandhi that the Bill is a threat not only to the Northeast but the entire nation and so, they should oppose it and ensure that it is not passed. �Gandhi listened to us patiently... we are grateful to him for granting us time,� said Dr Gohain, who was accompanied by Haider Hussain, Manjit Mahanta and Holiram Terang.

Gandhi made it clear that the Congress is against the Bill, Dr Gohain said, adding, �We will also meet the leaders of various opposition parties, including JD(U), CPI(M), CPI and RJD, among others. We will explain our position and brief them about the situation in Assam.�

Later, AICC general secretary in-charge for Assam Harish Rawat said, the Bill is not in the interest of the nation, because the Northeast is very sensitive and people have serious apprehension and it is against the Constitution. �This Bill is also against the Assam Accord and will nullify the entire NRC exercise and that is why we have decided to oppose it and how we will do it we will disclose at the appropriate time for strategic reasons,� he said.

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Rahul meets State groups on Citizenship Bill

NEW DELHI, Feb 4 - Notwithstanding the stiff opposition of the Congress to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the party�s central leadership is reluctant to turn it into a national agenda.

This was claimed by Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) adviser Akhil Gogoi, after his meeting with Congress president Rahul Gandhi here this afternoon. Gandhi met representatives of the All Assam Students� Union (AASU), North East Students� Organisation (NESO) and Forum Against Citizenship Act Amendment Bill, besides the KMSS.

Talking to newsmen, Akhil Gogoi said he spoke with Gandhi on four-five points. �We requested Gandhi to keep India secular and democratic, and that he should treat the issue as a national agenda instead of treating it as a Northeast-centric issue. Rahul Gandhi told us that the Congress will never allow the culture, language, society of the Northeast to be destroyed,� Gogoi said.

�We told him that we don�t want guarantee for only the Northeast, but a guarantee that India remains a secular and democratic nation, and the Congress party should take up this issue as a national agenda. He listened but he didn�t give a clear answer that the Congress will ensure floor management and a joint opposition by other UPA partners. He told us that he will discuss the issue at the party forum and inform us about the party�s stand in the next few days,� the KMSS adviser said.

�We didn�t get a clear answer to what we had asked, and we conveyed to the Congress party that if they don�t play an active role in defeating the Bill and treat it as a national agenda, then the people of Assam and the Northeast will not accept them,� Gogoi said, adding that Rahul Gandhi assured him of 100 per cent cooperation in the Parliament to defeat the Bill.

AICC general secretary Harish Rawat and PCC president Ripun Bora, however, denied KMSS leader�s contention and said that Gogoi was trying to mislead. Bora and Rawat claimed that the Congress party is committed to oppose the Bill at any cost.

Later, the NESO president said they have requested Gandhi to go all out against the Bill. �Gandhi has assured us that he will not allow anyone to crush the culture, language and identity of the indigenous people of the Northeast. The Congress party is for implementation of the Assam Accord,� he said.

Gandhi also mentioned that the Congress party would oppose the Bill if it comes to Rajya Sabha, he said. �We hope that he will take a call... We hope the Congress party will work with their allies in order to stop this Bill,� he said.

Talking to newsmen, AASU advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya said they requested Gandhi to oppose the Bill. �Since the Bill has been passed in Lok Sabha and is pending in Rajya Sabha, the government may bring it anytime, and we appealed him to oppose the Bill by not boycotting the House but voting against it,� he said.

�We have also appealed him to discuss the issue with the allies of the UPA and ensure that the Bill is not passed in the Upper House at any cost. If the UPA abstains from the House then there is every possibility of the Bill being passed in Rajya Sabha. We requested him to take every step to ensure that the Bill is not passed in the Upper House,� he said.

�We have also told Gandhi that we will not allow anyone to finish the language, culture, heritage and identity of the indigenous people, and the Congress should be committed to implement the Assam Accord and they should oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill,� Bhattacharya said.

�We have talked to all opposition parties, including TMC, Janata Dal (U), Shiv Sena and Samajwadi Party. We have talked to everyone who is in a position to vote and defeat the Bill,� the AASU adviser said.

Emerging from the meeting, Dr Hiren Gohain said they explained to Gandhi that the Bill is a threat not only to the Northeast but the entire nation and so, they should oppose it and ensure that it is not passed. �Gandhi listened to us patiently... we are grateful to him for granting us time,� said Dr Gohain, who was accompanied by Haider Hussain, Manjit Mahanta and Holiram Terang.

Gandhi made it clear that the Congress is against the Bill, Dr Gohain said, adding, �We will also meet the leaders of various opposition parties, including JD(U), CPI(M), CPI and RJD, among others. We will explain our position and brief them about the situation in Assam.�

Later, AICC general secretary in-charge for Assam Harish Rawat said, the Bill is not in the interest of the nation, because the Northeast is very sensitive and people have serious apprehension and it is against the Constitution. �This Bill is also against the Assam Accord and will nullify the entire NRC exercise and that is why we have decided to oppose it and how we will do it we will disclose at the appropriate time for strategic reasons,� he said.