Assam's National Register of Citizens (NRC) has already sparked a controversy across the nation. Both the major political parties – Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are in a rat race to take the credit. In Madhya Pradesh as well, the state unit of the BJP is planning to make NRC an election issue and want to add it to their election manifesto for upcoming assembly elections, which are due in November this year.
When the BJP is facing flake from various quarters – farmers, businessmen, teachers, and unemployed youth – after 15 years of incumbency in the state, the party is seeing NRC as panacea to bury all the problems. As per the BJP’s claim, there are around one lakh Bangladeshi illegal migrants in Madhya Pradesh, working as jewellery makers, contractors and labourers.
Speaking about this issue, convener of the BJP’s manifesto wing Vikram Verma said that entry of people in the state post 1971 is a matter of investigation. “There should be an inquiry for those who have come to Madhya Pradesh after 1971. The manifesto team is thinking of adding the NRC to the election manifesto after checking legal side and consulting the union government,” he said.
National General Secretary of the BJP and tallest leader after CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the state, Kailash Vijayvargiya emphasised that illegal Bangladeshi migrants are threat for the internal security of the state and state body should add NRC issue to their manifesto.
Going a step further, former Union Minister and MP from Damoh constituency, Prahlad Patel said that not only in the state, but NRC should be implemented across the nation. “How we will decide who an Indian citizen is? Who is a refugee? And who is an illegal migrant? They are enjoying facilities like Indian citizens and are exploiting our resources. Some of them have even made Ration Card and Aadhaar cards. It should be stopped.”
Congress spokespersons Pankaj Chaturvedi questioned that why the BJP recalls such issues only before election. Their only agenda is to divert people’s attention before election and bury the development issue, he said.
“It was Congress who had signed Assam Accord in 1985, and NRC is a part of it. Why were they sleeping since last 15-20 years and why have they suddenly woken up before assembly and general elections, and are focussing on shooing away illegal migrants?” Chaturvedi asked.
“We are also supporting NRC, but BJP should talk about development agenda, what they have done in last 15 years, what jobs they have created, how much they benefited farmers and so on. Ironically, they wouldn't talk over it, and try to divert the issue through the NRC,” he added.
“When Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the prime minister, he had allocated only Rs five lakh for NRC, but in 2009, it was the Congress government that allocated Rs 489 crore to setup foreign courts and fasten the work of NRC,” said Chaturvedi.
“Between 2005 and 2013, the Congress led-UPA government deported more than 82,000 illegal migrants, but BJP deported only 1,800 in last four years,” he asserted.
As the first draft of Assam NRC has been published, where 40 lakh people have been excluded from the list, BJP leaders have demanded NRC in various states like West Bengal. Even, Delhi BJP MLAs are alleging that there are thousands of Bangladeshi illegal migrants in Delhi and that they are widely active in crimes.