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Wednesday, Dec 01, 2021
Outlook.com
Citizenship/Federalism

When The States Push Back

The Centre is in for a faceoff with federal power as 11 states, including a few ruled by BJP allies, oppose­ ­implementation of NRC. Some oppose CAA as well.

When The States Push Back
Leading The Charge | Photograph by PTI
When The States Push Back
outlookindia.com
2020-01-17T14:29:45+05:30

Call it the inflection point—on December 11, 2019, when Parliament passed the ­Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAA), it also opened up the divisions along religious, ethnic and linguistic lines. When young India hit the streets in protest against the combination of the amen­ded citizenship law and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), their demands found resonance with many state governments. This may be the first time that chief ministers of at least 11 states have come together to oppose a central legislation. These 11 states make up 56 per cent of India’s population, and some are ruled by allies of the BJP.

Moving the Supreme Court to get CAA declared unconstitutional and in violation of Articles 14 and 21, Kerala’s CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front government was the first to challenge the amended law. The Kerala assembly had also passed a resolution last month, demanding CAA be scrapped. CM Pinarayi Vijayan has written ­letters to several chief ministers, ­including Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, urging them to reject the Centre’s moves on CAA, NRC and the National Population Register (NPR). Vijayan told Outlook in a recent interview that the states will assert themselves and resist when federal aspirations are overlooked. “In a federal structure such as ours, state governments are necessary for the smooth functioning of our polity. They can’t just be wished away. The Centre should try to have meaningful engagements with them and learn from them,” he said.

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