Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday came out in support of the National Population Register (NPR), suggesting that he had no problems in rolling out the exercise in Maharashtra. Thackeray claimed he would personally check the columns in the NPR questionnaire and that there shouldn't be any problem with the exercise.
Thackeray's stand is in variance with that of his allies, the Congress and the NCP, which have been vehement in their opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) as well as the NPR.
"Nobody should fear about the CAA. The NRC hasn't come and will not come. If the NRC is implemented, it will create problems not only for Muslims but for Hindus, Dalits, tribals and others. The Centre has not made any statement on the NRC. The NPR is a census and I will personally go through the columns in the form. I don't think there will be any problem in it. The census is carried out every ten years," Thackeray told mediapersons in Sindhudurg.
He said the CAA and the NRC were two different issues and his government will not allow the NRC to be implemented in the state. The Congress and the NCP have expressed reservations on the implementation of the NPR. Both parties said the three allies - the Sena, NCP and Congress - will sit together to decide on the questionnaire and then take a call on it.
Sources in the government said the first phase of the census will be carried out in the state between May 1 and June 15 this year. The government issued a notification in this regard last week.
The first phase includes "house listing operations" that requires such data as information on the building, head of the household, its ownership with others and assets. "The first phase will be conducted under Census Act 1948," an official said.
But NCP chief Sharad Pawar, who had a crucial role in bringing together the ideologically disparate Sena and Congress, played it down. "As a party our stand against it is clear because we have voted against it in Parliament. However, as a part of the government we have not decided on it yet. As an alliance, we share common grounds on certain issues while on certain subjects there is variance," Pawar said.