Amit Shah adding fuel to anger in Assam: Congress

Amit Shah adding fuel to anger in Assam: Congress

BJP President Amit Shah addresses the foundation stone laying ceremony of Assam state BJP office, in Guwahati. (PTI Photo)

In Assam, the Congress Party has accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of adding fuel to the fire in the state, after BJP chief Amit Shah's statement that government would introduce the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill again after it comes to power.

"There was an outpouring of protests against the bill by the indigenous people and various organisations. The anger has subsided after we managed to stop the government from placing the bill in the Rajya Sabha. But Shah has tried to add fuel to that anger by announcing that they would table the bill after coming to power again," president of Assam Pradesh Congress Committee, Ripun Bora said, here.

Shah, while addressing a rally in North Assam's Lakhimpur district on Sunday, said that passage of the citizenship bill was important to control "fast demographic change" and prevent Assam from becoming Kashmir. He urged the people to vote for the BJP as the saffron party would do everything to stop Assam from becoming Kashmir.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, sought to allow "persecuted minorities" such as Hindus, Christians, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs and Parsis, from neighbouring countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who had migrated to India till December 2014 to apply for citizenship in the country after a stay of six years. In Assam, the bill is vehemently opposed by members of the indigenous community, who fear that it would reduce them to minorities - both linguistically and politically - by giving citizenship to a large number of "illegal migrants" from neighbouring Bangladesh.

The former chief minister and senior Congress leader Tarun Gogoi described Shah's statement as "divisive and aimed at votes" in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections

"As Modi government has failed to provide jobs and deliver on its promises, they are again playing the divisive politics by talking about Hindus and Muslims, tribals and non-tribals and the foreigners and citizens. Shah claimed that they are trying to detect foreigners by updating the NRC but the truth is that the work for NRC began during our tenure," Gogoi said.

Assam has 14 Lok Sabha seats of which BJP had won seven in 2014, Congress and AIUDF three each and one by an Independent candidate.