Meghalaya BJP leader quits over citizen bill

Sofiur Rahman, who heads the minority wing, says bill will hurt local people

By Our Correspondent in Shillong
  • Published 13.01.19, 12:45 AM
  • Updated 13.01.19, 12:45 AM
  • a min read
  •  
Sofiur Rahman The Telegraph picture

Meghalaya BJP Minority Morcha chief Sofiur Rahman has resigned from the party, citing opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

Rahman, a member of Garo Hills Autonomous District Council from Balachanda constituency, claimed that all 21 members of the Morcha would quit the BJP on Monday.

“I am resigning from the post of the state president of Minority Morcha and also from the membership of the BJP because of some personal problem and also because I am against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which is totally against our indigenous people of Meghalaya and the Northeast,” Rahman said in his letter submitted to Meghalaya BJP chief Shibun Lyngdoh.

He said he submitted the resignation letter on Friday evening.

In 2015, Rahman was elected to the council from Balachanda in West Garo Hills district as an Independent candidate. Later, he joined the BJP.

Rahman told The Telegraph on Saturday that the BJP youth president in West Garo Hills, Ataur Rahman, and the entire Minority Morcha team of 21 members, would resign from the BJP on Monday.

“They will quit from the party because they are opposed to the bill” he said.

Rahman said it was important to respect “public sentiments” and the indigenous people in Meghalaya were against the bill.

“It (bill) will be a problem for the indigenous people of Meghalaya and the Northeast. We respect the sentiments of the people because we are elected leaders and, on the basis of that, I have resigned from the BJP,” he said.

On whether he would join another party, he said he will take a decision in the coming days.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, was passed by the Lok Sabha recently but the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre could not table it in the Rajya Sabha because of stiff opposition.

The entire Northeast has been rallying against the bill, which, many feel, will endanger the indigenous population in the region.