GUWAHATI: BJP president Amit Shah on Sunday said people would get a “Congress-mukt” Northeast following Mizoram election even as he got a feel of people’s sentiments in Assam against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 which the Narendra Modi government wants to pass to grant citizenship to the non-Muslim immigrants of Bangladesh besides Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“After Mizoram election, the Northeast will be Congress-mukt. You will find eight chief ministers sitting on dais in NEDA’s next meeting,” Shah said at the 3rd conclave of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) in Guwahati which was attended among others by six chief ministers of the Northeast.
The NEDA, a brainchild of Shah, is a conglomerate of non-Congress political parties in the Northeast and its mission is to rid the region of the Congress. Since its formation in 2016 following BJP’s historic victory in Assam, the saffron party and its NEDA allies went on to capture power in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Tripura. Mizoram, the last Congress-ruled state in the Northeast, will go to election by the year-end.
Meanwhile, Shah’s visit was preceded by protests by peasants’ body Krishak Mukti Sangram Samitee (KMSS) against the Citizenship Bill. KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi and several of its members were arrested and whisked away in buses by the police as they were staging a protest holding black flags near the venue of NEDA conclave.
“It is our democratic right to stage a protest peacefully but the manner in which it is thwarted by the police is uncalled for. We appeal to people to raise their voice against the bill,” Gogoi told reporters.
The KMSS might have failed to draw Shah’s attention to the bill but the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), which is a constituent of the state’s BJP-led coalition, could.
“…We would like to draw the BJP president’s attention to the Citizenship Bill which violates certain clauses of the Assam Accord. The Assam Accord is a fruit of the six-year long Assam Agitation in 1980s. If the Citizenship Bill is passed, it will change Assam’s demography. We feel that there should not be any division of people on religious lines. We hope Amit Shah Ji will realise the gravity of the situation in Assam and do his best to protect the interests of indigenous communities,” AGP president Atul Bora, who was among dignitaries at the NEDA conclave, said in his speech.
As per the Assam Accord, the illegal immigrants – irrespective of faith – who entered Assam after March 24, 1971, will be detected and deported. The National Register of Citizens is being updated in the state based on that cut-off date.