NEW DELHI, Aug 8 - Former Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta today alleged that the BJP was practising vote bank politics in Assam and challenged West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to undertake NRC (National Register of Citizens) exercise in her state to detect illegal Bangladeshi migrants.
Addressing a press conference here, the AGP stalwart was unsparing in his attack on the BJP, which is an alliance partner of the regional party in the State. He said the BJP-led Central government was now trying to amend the decades-old Citizenship Act, seeking to grant citizenship to Hindu migrants from Bangladesh with the hope that these new Indians would become dedicated voters of the saffron party. He said the people of Assam will never allow Hindu Bangladeshis to live in the State.
Making a scathing attack on Mamata Banerjee, the two-time AGP Chief Minister said that the native people of West Bengal also want their state to undertake the NRC exercise. �An NRC is an urgent necessity for West Bengal. The Government of India should appoint a good nodal officer of the NRC in West Bengal and start the exercise,� he said.
�In fact, we want the NRC in all states. First, we want an NRC in West Bengal which is also affected by illegal immigration from Bangladesh as language and culture of West Bengal and Bangladesh are same,� he said.
Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress have unleashed a campaign against the NRC exercise in Assam both inside and outside the Parliament, Mahanta said, adding that she likened the NRC exercise to a civil war.
Mahanta opposed the modalities for the NRC exercise, which reportedly stipulate a prison term of five years and a penalty of Rs 50,000 against anyone whose objection is found to be incorrect. Describing it as draconian, he said the terms and conditions of the modalities are similar to the provisions of the IM(DT) Act.
He said the ongoing update of the NRC in Assam should be foolproof and no Indians should be left out and no illegal immigrants included in the final list of the State�s residents. �Who will file objections, if such tough conditions are attached (with the NRC modalities),� he added.
Stating that the Asom Andolan Sangrami Mancha (AASM) will soon launch a nationwide campaign against the BJP for its stand on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, Mahanta said he is also planning to call on national and regional leaders in this regard.