BJP president Amit Shah on Friday, March 29 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.
"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," 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 lakhs of 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. Shah's sharp criticism of Mamata Banerjee is seen as an attempt by the BJP to expand its base in the state where the TMC boss's writ runs large.
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.
Shah lashed out at the opposition parties for questioning the Narendra Modi government over air strikes on terror camps in Pakistan and advocating talks with Islamabad to resolve various issues.
"The Narendra Modi government has given befitting replies to China over Dokalam issue and to Pakistan for its use of terror elements against India," 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 NRC and charging it with abetting infiltration for its vote bank, Shah said, "Mamatadi should stop misleading people on NRC. She is thinking that only infiltrators will help her to win polls."
Banerjee and her party TMC had been at the forefront of the opposition to NRC in Assam and had accused the BJP of trying to drive out people from that state on the basis of their religion and ethnic origin.
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 the people to vote for the BJP as under the TMC rule "the mother, mother land and the people are suffering". The mother, motherland 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 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.
Shah mocked Congress president Rahul Gandhi for seeking answers on the Modi government's performance. "We don't need to answer you (Gandhi). First you should tell us what the UPA government did in 10 years."
The Congress-led UPA-I and UPA-II governments under Manmohan Singh had been in power from 2004 to 2014.
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