NEW DELHI: In a clear shift of stand over the National Register of Citizenship issue, the Congress on Saturday said it “supports the NRC process” as it flowed from the 1985 Assam accord signed by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi but cautioned the government over the “multiple anomalies in the final draft NRC list.”
The change in party’s position came after feedback from the Assam unit that opposing the NRC too much could be counter-productive as status of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants was a huge emotional issue in the north-eastern state.
Concerned over the lack of uniform view over the NRC within the party and fearing that the BJP was out to derive political mileage over the draft, Rahul Gandhi chaired a meeting of the Congress Working Committee, which debated the issue threadbare.
After the CWC meeting, the party harped on the fact that the process was started by Congress Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi in 2005. Several Congress leaders had attacked the NRC when the complete draft list was published on Monday.
“Genuine Indians should not be sent out of the country. The NRC should not be politicised and used as a vote bank. It is a human rights issue, not a Hindu-Muslim issue,” Ghulam Nabi Azad had said in the Rajya Sabha.
Mallikarjun Kharge, his colleague in the Lok Sabha, said “it’s a question of 40 lakh people. There are many original citizens who have also been asked to furnish papers, many people whose names have been erroneously deleted. You are creating new divisions.”
Congress communications chief Randeep Surjewala said “the BJP is using the NRC as a tool to divide the society along communal lines to distract people from its colossal failure of governance”.
Fearing that the BJP was out to derive political mileage over the draft, the CWC urged all party leaders to fight the BJP propaganda over the NRC issue