GUWAHATI, Oct 24 - The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today accused the Congress of doublespeak and of trying to mislead the people of Assam with regard to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
�When former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in the Opposition, he had himself in the Rajya Sabha once supported granting shelter to persecuted minorities from the neighbouring countries. What does the Congress have to say about that? The Congress party is indulging in politics on the issue of the Bill. They speak in one voice in the Brahmaputra Valley and in another in the Barak Valley. Congress is a national party, so let the central leadership of the party come out openly against the Bill,� State BJP spokesperson Rupam Goswami said.
He added, �BJP had supported the Assam Agitation. However, the Congress and the Communists had opposed it. Now the same Congress and the Communists have become so vocal on the issue of the Bill. What is their agenda? ... When the Chinese attacked India, the Communists here had supported China. I wonder if the conspiracy to merge Assam with Bangladesh or Pakistan is still on.�
The BJP leader alleged that the Congress party wants to keep alive the controversy over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill for political gains.
�The Bill is a national issue and not Assam-specific. It does not speak merely of Hindus of Bangladesh but of people belonging to six religious communities of Pakistan and Afghanistan, besides Bangladesh,� Goswami said.
He also refuted claims made by the KMSS, AJYCP and other organisations that Tuesday�s Assam bandh was total and spontaneous.
�A bandh can be termed spontaneous only when there is no picketing on the streets and people stay indoors merely on the basis of appeal. If yesterday�s bandh has really been spontaneous then we would not have seen burning tyres on streets,� he said.
He added that the BJP opposes the bandh culture.
�Anna Hazare never resorted to bandhs during his various agitations. He always relied on mass movement. If one is confident about the validity of his or her point of view, then undertake mass movement,� Goswami said.
Asked if he believed that people stayed away from the streets during Tuesday�s bandh due to fear and intimidation, Goswami said, �That is exactly the case.�
He added, �What was surprising about yesterday�s bandh was that it affected the char areas of Assam. That has never happened before during any bandh. What does it signify?�
Meanwhile, the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) has called upon the government to withdraw the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
�People of Assam gave their total and spontaneous support to Tuesday�s Assam bandh despite repression and pressure tactics employed by the government. The Central and the State governments should learn a lesson from this. They should realise that the people of Assam are totally against the Bill. In the face of the mass democratic agitation of the people of Assam, the Bill should be scrapped,� APCC president Ripun Bora said in a statement.
It is noteworthy that the Congress had extended its moral support to the 12-hour Assam bandh called on Tuesday by KMSS, AJYCP and other organisations.