More than just a mere coincidence TSE’s thought vindicated

This may have just been a coincidence, but in the coincidence, The Sangai Express stands vindicated. Just a few days after the Managing Editor of The Sangai Express underlined the point that the BJP led Government at the Centre deemed it better not to table the Citizenship Amendment Bill, though it could have got the Bill passed via a joint session of Parliament or through an Ordinance, cause it had taken cognizance of the people’s strong stand against the Bill, came the open comment from Assam Finance Minister and NEDA convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma that Manipur can be kept out of the ambit of the CAB. Sarma’s comment came after BJP president Amit Shah had announced that the Bill will be reintroduced in Parliament if the BJP is voted back to power and this is where it becomes interesting. As argued by the Managing Editor of The Sangai Express in interactive session with NELive, the fact that the Bill was not tabled in the Rajya Sabha is an indication that the Centre was not keen to pass the Bill in its present form, in the face of the stiff opposition, especially from Imphal. This is where the comment of Himanta Biswa Sarma appears to complement the observation that the Bill if and when it is introduced in Parliament after the Lok Sabha elections may not be the same. And as observed in this column in an earlier comment, this is where the State Government should step in and reach out to the CSOs, particularly MANPAC and see what ‘safeguards’ can be incorporated in the Bill. ‘Safeguards’ is the very term used by Himanta Biswa Sarma while interacting with the media on February 25.
The essence of what Himanta Biswa Sarma said should be taken note of by the State Government. The very fact that the NEDA convenor suggested that the Chief Minister of Manipur and the people get together and engage with the Centre to keep Manipur out of the ambit of CAB or have some ‘safeguards’ inserted is an open statement that the Centre should be approached. What clauses or safeguards may be suggested is best left to the State Government and the CSOs concerned to approach the Centre with, but this is an opportunity that should not be lost. The big question is whether the State Government is up to it to engage with the CSOs here and approach the Centre or not. Significant to note too that Nagaland Assembly on February 26 adopted a resolution against the CAB. The situation here may be a little different for the Nagaland Government is under the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party led by Nephiu Rio as the Chief Minister while the Government at Imphal is led by the BJP-this is where the earlier poser raised by The Sangai Express gains merit-and therefore the best approach for the State Government may lie in urging the Centre to incorporate safeguards as espoused by Himanta Biswa Sarma. Remains to be seen how the details of the safeguards may be worked out, but a concession of acknowledging the stand of the people has been sounded and this is encouraging.

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