Bengal BJP suddenly silent on NRC

 

The West Bengal BJP has suddenly gone silent over its demand to implement the NRC in the state. Despite its claims of conducting the NRC and ignoring the opinions of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government, the state BJP leadership has rarely spoken on the issue. The demand has taken a backseat as they are now preoccupied with holding the Gandhi Sankalp Yatra in Bengal.

According to BJP sources in the state, the plan to build public opinion has also been put on hold. The idea was to build opinion to pass the Citizenship Amendment Bill and conduct the NRC in Bengal with thousands of postcards written by common people to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Executing the move is not a small task. Right now, it is not possible to go ahead with it as our party organisation is caught up with the Gandhi Sankalp Yatra,” said a senior state BJP leader.

BJP sources revealed that the state leadership was going slow over the issue because it's apprehensive that widespread panic in Bengal over the NRC might have adverse effect on its electoral prospects.

Till Home Minister Amit Shah’s conference on the NRC happened in Kolkata on Oct. 1, the senior state BJP leaders regularly boasted about conducting the NRC in Bengal. Party sources now say that Shah has instructed the state leadership not to make offhand remarks on the NRC as he senses that a campaign by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee against the NRC might give the TMC an advantage. 

Apart from claiming that suicides due to other causes are being dubbed by the TMC as NRC-related deaths, the state BJP leadership has not been successful in countering the ruling party’s allegations.

State BJP president Dilip Ghosh came up with a rather bizarre argument to explain why their NRC-related public outreach program has been put on hold.

“Postcards are not available in large numbers at post offices. Hence, we are facing some difficulties. It will be resolved soon,” said Ghosh.

Along with the TMC, the Congress party has also latched on to the issue. “The chief minister for some days spread panic over the NRC in the state but now, she is urging people not to panic," said senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Pradip Bhattacharya. "The state BJP was claiming that the NRC will be held in Bengal no matter what but after the chief minister’s meeting with Modi and Shah, they have toned down their rhetoric.” 

It remains to be seen whether the BJP can use the NRC issue to draw votes in its favour in Bengal or if it provides an advantage to the TMC instead.

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