Even as Bharatiya Janata Party faces people’s ire in the North East over the passage of Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha, the party’s national president Amit Shah on Friday, as a damage control measure, raised the National Register of Citizens (NRC) issue and the Assam government’s success in implementing the same.
In his inaugural speech delivered in the party’s national convention at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi, Shah said that the Centre would implement NRC throughout the nation for its security.
“I assure the people of India through BJP workers that NRC is not an issue of vote banks for us. For us, it is an issue related to the nation’s security,” he said. Dubbing infiltration as a security threat to the nation, he said that infiltrators sneak into the country to cause blasts and kill people.
“The BJP is determined to identify the infiltrators and throw them out. There can be no compromise with the nation’s security to win elections,” he asserted.
Shah singled out the Assam government’s success in identifying illegal migrants, at the same time lambasting Congress for its response to it.
“The day it was declared that the NRC in Assam identified 40 lakh infiltrators, I was very happy. But when I reached the Rajya Sabha, I was surprised to see Rahul baba and company bewildered with the questions such as where will these people go? What will they eat and drink? This is nothing but vote bank politics,” he said.
The NRC update has been a long-standing demand of the people of Assam. It is in the process of being fulfilled after a Supreme Court order to do the same.
The BJP-led state government supported the programme with adequate law and order infrastructure and has been claiming credit to the successful publication of the draft NRC.
Significantly, Shah's evoking of the NRC, an issue close to the hearts of the masses in the North East, comes after Home Minister Rajnath Singh addressed the Rajya Sabha, assuring the people in the northeastern region of the protection of their culture and heritage.
Amidst vehement protest in the Rajya Sabha and the North East over the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016, the home minister said in the Rajya Sabha: “I assure the House that we are committed to preserve North East’s identity and culture...We want a peaceful situation in the North East and are in constant touch with the state governments. We will strive to protect the identity and culture of the North East and will take steps to address all concerns."
There has been a growing feeling among the masses in the North East that the people got a raw deal from the ruling party and its allies after supporting them in almost every election in the last few years. The proposed legislation is seen as a U-turn by the BJP as it attempts to provide citizenship to a section of illegal immigrants. The move is seen in sharp contrast with that of what the people have been demanding in Assam: detection and detention of illegal immigrants.
After all its victories, the BJP was seen as shying away from its election promise of freeing Assam from illegal immigrants after it passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha and attempted to place it in the Upper House.
No wonder in Friday's address the BJP president made a remark only in single line about the goal of the proposed legislation. Only time will tell whether the saffron party’s repeated attempt to retain its bastion and massive support would be effective or not.
Updated Date: Jan 12, 2019 19:28:00 IST