(Source: BloombergQuint)

Election 2019: Will The Citizenship Bill Be A Deciding Factor For BJP In Northeast?

The Citizenship Amendment Bill, which had turned India’s northeast angry and spelled trouble for the Bharatiya Janata Party in the region, has “vanished” from voters’ minds and the focus has now shifted to more local issues, according to Karma Paljor, editor-in-chief at EastMojo.com.

But senior journalist Deepak Diwan differs. The BJP can’t make the same claim of securing more than 21 out of the 25 seats in the Northeast this time, something which they had before the bill came into the picture, he told BloombergQuint in an interview.

The bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act 1955 to allow Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to become citizens of India if they arrived before 2014. The omission of Muslims and restriction of countries to just three were debated in the Lok Sabha. It’s pending in the Rajya Sabha. In the Northeast, however, concerns were that they will be overrun by illegal migrants. The bill stirred widespread protests leading to curfew-like situation in several parts of the region.

The BJP, that risked its gains in the region, made serious inroads merely by forging alliances and horse trading, said Paljor. “It has not grown from grassroots in the Northeast.”

“I don’t think the Citizenship Amendment Bill is going to play any role in the election.”

Watch the full debate here: