GUWAHATI, July 31 - Even though the State unit of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had earlier said that it would make its stand regarding the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, clear once the complete draft of the NRC is published, the saffron party is, however, unlikely to express its official position on the matter any time soon.
BJP sources said the party would wait for the final NRC to be out before taking an official stand on the issue of the Bill.
�Our line is most likely to be that we will clarify our position regarding the Citizenship Bill once the final NRC is out. But, in case the Bill is tabled in Parliament before the NRC update process is over, then we will definitely take a stand in the House. However, considering the situation now, it is unlikely to be tabled in Parliament in the near future,� a senior office-bearer of the BJP told The Assam Tribune today.
It is noteworthy that the BJP has in recent months faced harsh criticism from various quarters over the issue of the Bill.
�Though the second and complete draft of NRC was published yesterday, a detailed analysis is yet to be carried out regarding matters like percentage of people in each constituency who have not found their names in the document and to which communities they belong, among other things. On the other hand, the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) is looking into the issue of the Citizenship Bill and not much has moved with regard to the proposed legislation in the last couple of months. So, at this crucial stage our party would prefer not to rake up the matter of the Bill. When the JPC submits its report, our party will definitely give its views,� said the BJP leader.
He added, �Anyway, only the draft NRC is out in the public domain and over 40 lakh names have been left out of it. Around 2.5 lakh of those are the �D� voters and their descendants and persons whose references are pending in Foreigners Tribunals and their descendants. With regard to the remaining 37.5 lakh individuals, there are cases where people have been left out because necessary verification of documents did not come from other states. Names of many indigenous people have also not figured in the final draft. Such names are missing due to technical issues.�
BJP sources claimed that in Karbi Anglong district almost 70 per cent of residents whose names are missing from the draft NRC are Hindi-speaking people.
�But the pertinent point is, the draft NRC has proved beyond doubt that the problem of illegal immigrants is a reality in Assam. The question that now remains to be answered is what is the exact number of foreigners residing in Assam? So, once the final NRC is out, it will also help us expound the cause of the Citizenship Bill in a better way,� said the party leader.
Efforts to contact State BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass did not yield results. Dass did not pick up his phone despite repeated calls.
The saffron party has, meanwhile, instructed all its elected representatives and district and booth level leaders and workers to reach out to people whose names are missing from the draft NRC and extend help in the claims and objections process.