Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has become the latest CM to oppose the National Register for Citizens (NRC) as he declared on Saturday he would be the first person to "not sign the register."
Baghel said, "If NRC is implemented, I will be the first person who will not sign the register."
Baghel 's remark comes a day after Bihar CM Nitish Kumar had strongly opposed the NRC. He is the first major NDA ally to reject the proposed move.
As the JD(U) veteran lends weight to the Opposition's bid to stop imposition of the NRC, the Centre sought to allay any fears about this massive exercise.
A top official of the Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA) on Friday said anyone born in India before July 1, 1987 or whose parents were born before that date are bona fide Indian citizens according to law and need not worry due to the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA) or a possible countrywide NRC.
Amid nationwide protests against the new Citizenship law, Kumar told reporters, "Kaahe ka NRC? Bilkul laagu nahin hoga (NRC, what for? It will not be implemented at all)."
Another BJP ally, Lok Janshakti Party, also indicated its opposition to the NRC and sought to distance itself from the Union government over the citizenship law, asserting nationwide protests show that the Centre has "failed" to dispel confusion among a significant section of society.
LJP chief Chirag Paswan, whose party had backed the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament, noted that the protests are happening in various parts of the country with people linking the NRC to the amended law.
In the recent past, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her counterparts in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, Naveen Patnaik and Jaganmohan Reddy, respectively, besides those in the Congress-ruled states have spoken out against the proposed NRC which parties opposed to the BJP view as a move to polarize voters.
Kumar's averments could be seen as a gesture aimed at, simultaneously, assuring elements within the JD(U) headed by him who apprehend the party losing out on its Muslim base after supporting the Citizenship Bill as well as detractors, most notably RJD of arch rival Lalu Prasad, who have sharpened their attacks on the chief minister in the recent days.
Asked about the possibility of rolling out the NRC for the whole country, the MHA official said it was pre-mature to say anything on it as there has been no discussion on it.
"We also appeal to people to not compare the Citizenship Amendment Act with the NRC in Assam as the cut-off date for Assam is different," the official added.
(With PTI Inputs)