GUWAHATI: BJP president Amit Shah has stirred a hornet’s nest by saying the party will bring the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 if it retains power at the Centre.
Enraged over his comments, the anti-bill protestors in Assam have appealed to BJP workers, who have self-respect, to ditch the party and defeat it in the Lok Sabha elections.
“That the BJP is a party of Bangladeshi immigrants was evident from the comments of Amit Shah. He proved the BJP has no respect for the Indian Constitution, democracy and parliamentary system. Therefore, BJP workers in Assam, who have self-respect, should resign and get ready to defeat the party in Lok Sabha elections,” Akhil Gogoi, who is a leader of peasants’ body Krishak Mukti Sangram Samitee (KMSS), said. The KMSS had spearheaded the anti-bill protests in Assam.
Addressing a rally in Assam’s Lakhimpur on Sunday, Shah had said, “Let me tell you, if BJP retains power at the Centre, Modiji will bring the citizenship bill again”:
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Some 30 organisations, which met on Monday to discuss Shah’s comments, said the people in the Northeast would continue to oppose the bill. The North East Students’ Organisation (NESO), which had mobilized public opinions against the bill across the region, condemned Shah’s comments.
“What the BJP president had asserted is an insult to the indigenous communities of the Northeast. The people will oppose any move in the future to pass the bill in Parliament,” the NESO said in a statement.
The Congress has also slammed the BJP for Shah’s comments. Assam Congress chief Ripun Bora said the BJP had not yet parted with its alleged blueprint to destroy the state.
“We appeal to people to reject the BJP in Lok Sabha elections as it is playing divisive politics. That it doesn’t believe in democracy was evident from Amit Shah’s comments,” Bora said.
The Congress in Mizoram has also flayed Shah. The party said voting in favour of the BJP or its ally ruling Mizo National Front in Lok Sabha polls would mean voting in favour of the Citizenship Bill.
“The Congress, on behalf of Mizoram, will engage in a do or die battle if the Citizenship Bill is put up again because it is detrimental to the interests of the Mizos,” the party said.
The bill seeks to grant Indian citizenship to immigrants belonging to six persecuted non-Muslim communities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who migrated till December 31, 2014.