GUWAHATI: In Assam’s Bengali heartland, the Opposition Congress is trying to dodge the Bharatiya Janata Party’s big weapon — the divisive Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (CAB). As the BJP goes all out to promote one of its campaign promises to grant citizenship to Bangladeshi Hindus who fled the neighbouring country in the face of religious “persecution”, the Bengali-majority Barak Valley is all ears. For the Congress, opposing the Bill in the Brahmaputra Valley, the same is not possible in the Barak Valley. The Congress’s opposition in the Brahmaputra Valley is understandable as it has 11 of Assam’s 14 Parliamentary constituencies.
The Congress here sided with some 70 organisations which are claiming amid the Assamese and other indigenous communities that if the Bill is passed, it will lead to a fresh influx of two crore “Hindu Bangladeshis” and the locals will be wiped off. In the two seats of Barak Valley, however, the Congress is silent on the CAB. It is campaigning aggressively against Prime Minister Narendra Modi claiming that he lied about the Rafale fighter jet deal and on local issues.
All India Mahila Congress chief Sushmita Dev, who is the Silchar MP in Barak Valley, accused the BJP of lying. “Today, people don’t believe in PM Modi. They have understood that he exaggerates and lies,” she said adding, “The PM had recently come to Barak Valley and said that he cannot pass the Citizenship Bill unless his Assamese brothers and sisters agree. So, they ultimately have taken a U-turn on the Bill.”