MP Ali Azim (MDP Henveiru Central), the Maldivian Democratic Party's former parliamentary group leader, has stated that some MDP members were hesitant to declare their support for a bill that sought to criminalise the "India Out" movement.
The grassroots "India Out" movement began as a response to the stationing of Indian military personnel and assets throughout the Maldives and the Solih administration's lack of transparency with regards to several bilateral agreements that had been signed with the Indian government. The ruling Maldivian Democratic Party had recently begun drafting a bill that sought to penalise supporting the "India Out" movement with hefty fines, house-arrest, and jail-terms.
Speaking at today's session of the Majlis, MP Azim said that his last act as parliamentary group leader for the MDP was to submit the bill that sought to criminalise the "India Out" movement. However, he had said, the bill received "differing opinions" from the MDP's parliamentarians.
"Members who wanted the government's help and support were very worried about the bill and reluctant to support it", said MP Azim.
MP Azim said that the newly-elected parliamentary group leader would have to re-schedule discussions about the drafted bill, and that the government would have to be consulted with regards to the bill.
MP Azim had been elected as the MDP's parliamentary group leader by a large majority. He lost to MP Mohamed Aslam (MDP-Hithadhoo North) during the parliamentary group election that was held on Friday.