Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Saturday said that work on the National Population Register (NPR) will begin in April.
Insisting that the NPR had no relation whatsoever to the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), he accused the DMK of misleading people.
“They [DMK] are trying to confuse the public. I believe political parties that do not have any influence among people have come together and are deliberately trying to create trouble for the Central and State governments,” he told reporters in Salem.
Asked when the NPR process would begin in the State, he said, “It is under the ambit of the Central government. As reported in the media, it will be conducted in April. It is just a population census. In the first phase, 34 different [bits of] data will be collected next year.”
To a specific question on whether his government would oppose NPR, Mr. Palaniswami said it was merely a decadal census exercise. He added that the Centre had made it clear that the details for NPR would be collected if a person had resided at a place for six months. “There are no issues in this and no one will be affected. The Centre has said that no Indian citizen will be affected. It is just a decadal census,” Mr. Palaniswami explained.
He charged DMK leader M.K. Stalin and leaders of his alliance partners with deliberately carrying out false propaganda on the issue, and added that “the public, youngsters and minorities should take note of this”.
The CM said that the decision to conduct the NPR was taken during the Congress-led UPA government, of which the DMK was a constituent.
Mr. Palaniswami added that Home Minister Amit Shah had explained that the NPR that was introduced in 2010 was being implemented and there would not be any NRC.
On the State topping the Good Governance Index, the Chief Minister said, “We consider this as a huge victory for the people of Tamil Nadu. I thank everyone, especially bureaucrats, ministers, legislators and other government officials for their dedicated work.”
Asked about a case in the Madras High Court seeking a stay on declaration of results of rural local body polls, he said it was for the State Election Commission to respond to it. As leader of the AIADMK, he felt such litigations were being pursued due to personal interests.
He appealed to workers’ unions of Tangedco not to go ahead with their proposed strike from January 8, as the public utility agency was faced with a financial crisis and the government had tried to meet most demands of employees.