BJP chief asks Congress president Rahul Gandhi to clearly spell out his stand on the National Register of Citizens in Assam.


Setting the tone of his party’s West Bengal poll campaign next year, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah on Saturday launched a blistering attack on Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on the NRC issue, while warning Banerjee not to hinder Hindu religious celebrations. In an aggressive speech at a rally organised by the party’s youth wing, Shah dwelt at length on infiltration from Bangladesh and made a clear distinction between the infiltrators and refugees—minority Hindus, Christians and Buddhists from Muslim majority Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. While the infiltrators needed to be “identified”, it was the “responsibility” of the BJP government at the Centre to ensure refugees can stay back in India, he said. Shah called upon the people of West Bengal to uproot the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government and said only his party can bring progress in the state.

Addressing a massive rally in central Kolkata’s Mayo Road, Shah said though the BJP is currently in power in 19 states, the journey of his party cannot be considered complete unless it emerges victorious in West Bengal—the land of Jana Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and many other statesmen. “I want to tell all the BJP activists in Bengal that our governments in 19 states do not bear much significance unless we win in Bengal, the land of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Swami Vivekananda and Rabindranath Tagore. Our chariot of victory should not be stopped until we emerge victorious in Bengal,” said the BJP president.

Asking Congress president Rahul Gandhi to clearly spell out his stand on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, Shah asserted that his party was committed to completing the registration process to identify infiltrators, notwithstanding opposition from Mamata Banerjee. “Mamatadi, NRC will not stop just because of your opposition. You are free to oppose. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is free to oppose. But it is our commitment that we will complete NRC in Assam, by following the due process of law, and identify all infiltrators one by one,” Shah said. Virtually throwing a challenge to Banerjee and Rahul Gandhi, Shah said they should clarify their priority—the country’s security or votebank politics.

The BJP chief came down heavily upon the TMC, accusing it of being involved in a series of corruption cases, besides destroying the law and order situation in the state. Shah said the BJP is the only alternative in West Bengal.

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