Will bring NRC in West Bengal, throw out infiltrators, says Amit Shah
Alipurduar (WB), Mar 29: BJP president Amit Shah on Friday said his party will replicate the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in West Bengal on coming to power at the Centre to "throw out" infiltrators. He, however, made it clear that Hindu refugees will not be touched.
Kicking off the BJP poll campaign in the state, Shah took a swipe at the ruling TMC accusing it of trying to impose Urdu in schools and on Hindu population of the state and urged the people to vote for his party. "We will also bring in NRC in Bengal and throw out all infiltrators. We will also ensure that the Hindu refugees are not touched. They are very much a part of our country and they will live in this country," Shah said.
The NRC is a document containing names of all genuine Indian citizens in Assam. It, however, became a hugely contentious issue after the complete draft, released last year, omitted the names of around 40 lakh people who have been residing in the state for several decades.
The BJP president also said the upcoming Lok Sabha polls are all about restoring democracy in the TMC-ruled West Bengal. "The TMC stands for three Ts -Trinamool, toll and tax. Under the TMC government, syndicates (groups of extortionists) are flourishing in Bengal," he claimed. In local parlance, 'tolabaji' is roughly understood as an act of organised extortion, he said. Shah's sharp criticism of Mamata Banerjee is seen as an attempt by the BJP to expand its base in the state.
The BJP currently has only two of the state's 42 Lok Sabha seats, and it has set an ambitious target to win 23 seats this time. Lashing out at the opposition parties for questioning the Narendra Modi government over air strikes on terror camps in Balakot in Pakistan and advocating talks to Islamabad to resolve various issues, Shah asserted that this election will hinge on ensuring the safety and security of the country.
"Mamata, Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav are all talking about holding a dialogue (with Pakistan). She is trying to appease her vote bank. The terrorists from Pakistan attacked and killed 40 of our brave jawans. Shouldn't the terrorists and Pakistan be given a befitting reply?" he asked. The Narendra Modi government has given befitting replies to China and Pakistan, he said, adding that "we are fighting to secure our country".
"It is India's right to defend itself. And I can assure you that the Modi government will not spare the terrorists. We will reply to Pakistan's bullets with bombs," he said. Hitting out at Banerjee for questioning the timing of Balakot air strike, the BJP president said the TMC chief is "angry" as she is wary that her vote bank in the state might get affected. Lambasting the TMC for its opposition to the NRC and charging it with abetting infiltration for its vote bank, Shah said, "Mamata-di should stop misleading people on NRC. She is thinking that only infiltrators will help her to win polls."
Shah's statement drew a sharp reaction from the TMC, which said it would never allow NRC to happen in the state. "We will never allow NRC to happen in Bengal. The BJP will not a win a single seat in Bengal nor form the government at the Centre," TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said.
Shah urged people to vote for the BJP as under the TMC rule "the mother, mother land and the people are suffering". The mother, mother land and the people are translations of TMC's slogan 'Ma Mati Manush'. "The love and affection is gone from mothers, infiltrators have taken away the land and people are being killed and brutalised. TMC stands for Trinamool Tolabaji Tax. If you go to schools you need to pay this tax to TMC. You need to pay this tax to get jobs too," he said.
Shah criticized Banerjee for questioning the timing of 'Mission Shakti' announcement and said the "missile" of Bengal's voters will wipe her out of the state. "Recently, India's missile destroyed a live satellite in space. With this India became the fourth country in the world to do this. Are you people happy or not? But Mamata Banerjee is saying it should have been done later." he said.
Shah referred to the firing at Darivit High School in North Dinajpur district in September last year, which had led to the killing of two students during protests against the alleged appointment of an Urdu teacher. He accused Banerjee of trying to "impose" Urdu on the Bengali-speaking people of the state. "She is trying to impose Urdu on the Bengalis in the state. We have no problem on the TMC government giving allowances to Muslim clerics, but why is the government indifferent towards Hindu priests in the state?" he asked. Only Modi can save Bengal from the TMC and its "reign of terror", the BJP chief claimed.
He mocked at Banerjee's announcement that if the TMC is voted to power at the Centre the flagship employment scheme of 100-day work provision under MNREGA for the rural poor will be extended to 200 days a year and the wages will be doubled.
"She has announced that she will double the MNREGA scheme, but what about the budget for Bengal's higher education? Why has the state allotted such a paltry sum for it?" he said. The electorate this time will choose between "strong and decisive" Narendra Modi on the one hand and "thugbandhan leaders such as Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee and Akhilesh Yadav on the other", he said in a veiled reference to the 'mahagathbandhan' or grand alliance of the opposition parties to dislodge the BJP.