NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party in West Bengal is in a damage control mode to tackle the “misinformation” it claims is being spread against the party with regard to the National Register of Citizens (NRC). The BJP has launched a campaign through which it is going to reach out to every household in all the districts of West Bengal and disseminate the “correct” information regarding NRC in Bengal.
Senior party sources say that they have already held meetings and instructed booth level workers to reach every house to make people understand what NRC is and how the BJP, if it comes to power, would implement NRC in Bengal. The party has also printed lakhs of pamphlets and small books explaining the “real” sense of NRC which would be distributed to the people through their booth level outreach programme.
A senior BJP district leader told The Sunday Guardian:
“The Trinamool Congress (TMC) is spreading a false campaign against the BJP and misleading the people about NRC. We have had meetings with our state leaders and we have been given the task of reaching out to people and telling them the truth. All our party workers will reach out to each and every household and explain the truth about NRC to them. We are also going to hold rallies and marches in the coming days to make people aware of the false propaganda being spread by the TMC against our party.”
Senior leaders of the party are also addressing the issue of NRC in all their public meetings. Even during the inauguration of several Durga Puja events attended by senior leaders of the BJP’s Bengal unit, they missed no opportunity to talk about how the NRC would be beneficial for the people of Bengal and how the party would not implement the NRC in Bengal before the Citizenship Amendment Bill (the CAB aims at giving Indian citizenship to all Hindu, Christian, Jain, Buddhist religious refugees who have come to India from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries) is passed in Parliament.
For instance, MP from Barrackpore Arjun Singh, while inaugurating a Durga Puja pandal in Bengal’s North 24 Parganas that has a huge population of Hindu religious immigrants from Bangladesh, took 20 minutes of his 27 minutes’ speech to talk about the NRC.
During his speech, he said, “The BJP is committed to bringing the NRC in Bengal to throw away people who entered India from under the barbed wires and who have now become very close to didi (Mamata Banerjee) for they act as her vote bank. However, Hindus here do not have to worry as we will not bring NRC before the CAB is passed in Parliament. We will not let any Hindus who fled due to religious oppression and have come to India go anywhere; they will be given Indian citizenship.”
Even senior BJP leader Mukul Roy has taken every opportunity to address the people about NRC and explain to them what the NRC would be and how the TMC is spreading fear among the people with regard to NRC.
This comes after the 1 October visit of BJP national president Amit Shah to Kolkata where, according to sources, he has directed all its state leaders to control the situation that has gone against the party after a scare over NRC was spread across the state just before the state’s biggest festival Durga Puja last month, where thousands of people were seen queuing up at government offices to get their documents corrected and some to even get their land records and birth certificates.
The Mamata Banerjee government had also blamed the BJP for over seven suicides in the state, claiming it to be over the fear of NRC.
However, both the BJP’s national president Amit Shah as well as state BJP president Dilip Ghosh has said that the party will bring NRC in Bengal once the BJP comes to power in the state, but have also said that it would not be implemented unless the CAB is passed.
BJP Bengal president Dilip Ghosh told The Sunday
Guardian: “The TMC is creating pandemonium and fear. They are misleading the people. They are afraid that their vote bank would be affected. But, we are committed to the NRC in Bengal and as Amit Shahji said, we are also
committed to CAB. Nothing will happen before CAB is passed.”