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NPP’s ideology to protect tribals and minorities can never be compromised, says Conrad

Tura, April 17: Faced with repeated attacks from the opposition for aligning with the BJP in this election, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma has said that his party-NPP remains ever steadfast in protecting the interests of tribals, minorities and other communities and that being in a coalition government of the BJP led NDA alliance doesn’t have to make anyone compromise on their ideology.

The chief minister said this in a special interaction with the media after holding a rally for Agatha K Sangma at Law College field in South Tura on Tuesday evening.

Responding to a barrage of questions thrown at him from the Garo Hills based journalists over controversial issues of the BJP and the stand of the NPP in regards to those, Conrad Sangma clarified that, “Working in a coalition doesn’t have to make anyone comprise his or her ideology because every party has their own ideology. Even though we may be part of NDA, we do not and will not compromise on our ideology when it comes to safeguarding the interests of the tribals and minorities.”

When pointed out to the history of attacks and atrocities on minorities, including Christians, in BJP ruled states, and questioned on how the NPP is in alliance with the saffron party, the chief minister said that his party has always raised any issue that impacts tribals and minorities, and cited the case of the Citizenship Amendment Bill where, he says, the NPP was the first to demand for exemption of the north east and the 6th Schedule areas.

“We have been part of the NDA alliance for more than 25 years, since the era of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. This alignment for the Lok Sabha elections is not something new. But, P A Sangma never compromised on any issue when it came to the protection and welfare of tribals. When it never took place in the last 25 years, why will it now? We have never compromised on our ideology and principles, that is protection of tribals, Christians and minorities,” clarified Conrad Sangma and questioned the Congress and the TMC on what ideology they are contesting in these elections.

‘Vote for Agatha is vote for Modi’ controversy

As the Trinamool and the Congress accuse the NPP of being the other side of the BJP coin over recent remarks made by the chief minister that a vote for Agatha would be a vote for Prime minister Modi, Conrad Sangma has accused the opposition of having a myopic view to the statement.

“It was meant specifically for BJP members when I met them to seek their support since the BJP decided against fielding a candidate and its high command had directed its workers and supporters to support and vote for Agatha. The same way I had even approached the GNC, UDP and other parties urging that a vote for Agatha would be a vote for the GNC, UDP and others.”

Fears over amending the constitution to change its secular form

Amid fears that the BJP plans to change the Constitution of India by removing the Secular portion and turning the country into a Hindu nation if the NDA touches the 400 MPs mark, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma assured that no party, including the NPP, would remain silent if it was to ever happen.

“The Constitution has been amended more than 100 times. Even during Congress tenure amendments took place. But the question is if the amendment goes against the interests of the tribals, minorities and other communities. If it ever comes to that, the NPP will not remain silent,” assured the chief minister.

“Even during CAA implementation we were the first party to raise our voice. We demanded exemption of 6th schedule area and north east. Whenever tribes and indigenous people need help and protection, NPP will be there for them.”

‘Fears over UCC unfounded’

With the Uniform Civil Code already under implementation in the state of Uttarakhand and fears minorities would be its target, Conrad Sangma said that the civil code over there had clearly spelt out in its law that tribal people, their land and rights have been exempted from it.

“I have made my stand clear to the Prime Minister and the Home Minister of the country that we will never support UCC if it is detrimental to the interest of tribals and minorities,” he said.

In support of One Nation, One Election

There is nothing wrong in the country having one election, believes the Meghalaya chief minister.

“What is wrong with one Nation having one election? Repeated elections hinder developmental works. Look at our own state, just last year we had MLA elections and now Parliamentary elections are underway. Each time elections are conducted we waste 4 months in a single working year. This is peak time for developmental works but we are instead in election mode. The One Nation One election proposal would immensely benefit states as it will be 5 years of disturbance free.”

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