BJP president Amit Shah, addressing a press conference after the Rajya Sabha witnesses tumultuous scenes over the Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) issue, expressed surprise that 'no party mentioned that the list published on Monday is just a draft and not the final list'.
He further added that the 40 lakh people not included in the NRC draft is not the final figure because they can file their objections and cross-verification remains. Dismissing allegations that the names of Indian citizens have also been excluded, he said the only names that have been left out are those who could not prove their citizenship.
Shah hit out at the Congress, Trinamool Congress (TMC) and other political parties speaking against the NRC for 'not clarifying their stand on Bangladeshi infiltrators'. He said the Congress did not have the courage to oust the infiltrators, but the BJP's priority is to safeguard India's borders. For BJP, NRC is key to security of the country, he added.
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"By encouraging infiltrators, how can we ensure the security at borders and internal security of the nation?" he asked, saying that the NRC is for the security of the country.
The BJP chief also hit out at West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee for her remarks that the NRC issue has been raised by the BJP for "electoral gains" and accused her of engaging in vote bank politics. He further said that vote bank politics should not be placed above national interest.
Spelling out BJP's stand, Shah said, "We have never practised vote bank politics. We have always demanded the removal of illegal immigrants." He also slammed Congress over its "habit" of changing its stand on political issues. Recalling former prime minister Indira Gandhi's statement that no infiltrator has a place in India, he asked Congress president Rahul Gandhi if he has forgotten those words.
Shah said former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi signed the 'Assam Accord' on 14 August, 1985, after the movement in the state went out of control leading to death of some protesters. The NRC is the soul of the 'Assam Accord', he added, accusing Congress of not having the courage to oust Bangladeshi infiltrators.
Shah also hit out at the erstwhile UPA governments in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday and sought to know whether the Congress wanted to protect the "illegal Bangladeshis" in the eastern state.
He also said the exercise was conducted under the supervision of the Supreme Court.
The Rajya Sabha had taken up the discussion by doing away with the Question Hour, but the debate was disrupted due to vociferous protests by TMC, Congress and some other parties which finally led Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to adjourn the House for the day.
"NRC is being conducted on the Supreme Court order. There are 40 lakh people (missing in the list) ... Whom do you want to save? You want to save illegal Bangladeshis?" the BJP chief asked.
Shah's remarks provoked noisy protests by the Opposition members led by those from the Congress and the TMC. The House was adjourned for about 10 minutes and then for the day.
Updated Date: Jul 31, 2018 17:27 PM