Accusing Congress President Rahul Gandhi of shying away from taking a clear stand on the NRC in Assam for the sake of votebank politics, BJP President Amit Shah on Saturday said his party is committed to completing the registration process to identify infiltrators notwithstanding opposition from Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.
“Mamata Di, NRC will not stop just because of your opposition. You are free to oppose. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is free to oppose. But it is our commitment that we will complete NRC in Assam, by following the due process of law, and identify all infiltrators one by one,” Shah said at a rally here.
Banerjee has been strident in her criticism of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, after 40 lakh people did not find a place in the document’s first complete draft published on July 30.
Asking Gandhi to spell out his stand on NRC, Shah pointed out that the work on the document was being done as per the Assam Accord which was signed in 1985 by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Rajiv Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi’s father, headed the Congress government at the Centre from 1984 to 1989.
“Now for votebank politics, Rahul Gandhi is not taking a clear stand,” Shah said at the rally organised by the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM).
Virtually throwing a challenge to Gandhi and Banerjee, Shah said they should clarify their priority between country’s security and votebank politics.
Reminding Banerjee that in 2005, she had thrown papers at then Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and stalled the House demanding removal of Bangladeshi infiltrators, Shah said she has changed her stance as the infiltrators now vote for her Trinamool.
The crowd responded with a roaring “yes” when Shah asked them whether or not the Bangladeshi infiltrators posed a threat to the country’s security, were involved in bomb blasts in Bengal and if they should be driven out.
Shah said West Bengal would not be in a healthy state if infiltration — rampant during Banerjee’s rule — is not stopped.
“And the best way to stop infiltration is NRC. So, the NRC process in Assam has to be completed.”
Shah also charged Banerjee with spreading “misinformation” in Bengal that along with infiltrators, refugees will also be driven out of India because of the NRC, and affirmed that it is the responsibility of the BJP government at the Centre to ensure that refugees stay back in India.
“I assure all refugees in Bengal that the the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government is bringing the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016. This bill has the provision to give citizenship to Christians, Buddhists and Hindu refugees who have come from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. There are no plans to send any refugees back.”
Throwing down the gauntlet on the Congress and the Trinamool, Shah asked the two parties to speak out before next year’s general election whether they would back the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016, when it is placed in Parliament.
Ridiculing the critics of NRC who have expressed concerns about the human rights of infiltrators, Shah wondered whether the Congress and the Trinamool were “not bothered” about the “human rights of the Hindus and Muslims of West Bengal”.
“Are you or are you not bothered that Bangladeshi infiltrators are eating into their livelihood, income, security, education?” he asked.
Referring to the Trinamool putting up posters from the airport to the rally site which read “Anti-Bengal BJP and Amit Shah go back”, he said: “How can the BJP be anti-Bengal? Our party (the BJP’s precursor Bharatiya Jana Sangh) was founded by a son of Bengal, Syama Prasad Mookerjee.
“Mamata Di, our deep love and respect for Bengal is not for votes… We are not anti-Bengal, but definitely anti-Mamata,” he said.