BJP in two minds over making NRC a poll plank in Bengal

Representative image. (Reuters photo)

BJP is in two minds over upholding the NRC issue as a key poll plank in West Bengal in the 2021 Assembly elections. According to sources in the Bengal BJP, the saffron party leadership is not sure how voters who came to India during the Partition would react to the issue. They also said that the party leadership wants to see how the NRC issue plays out in the upcoming Assembly byeelections and then take call on it.

“If the byeelection results happen to be below expectations for us then the party leadership may decide not to highlight NRC during campaign for the 2021 Assembly elections,” said a senior state BJP leader.

According to state BJP sources, the party leadership is rather apprehensive whether the panic due to NRC in Bengal will have an adverse effect on BJP’s electoral performance.

The remarks of several state BJP leaders such as the one made by state BJP president Dilip Ghosh that NRC will be held in Bengal and about 2 crore people will be excluded have created large scale panic and confusion in the state. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) has not missed opportunity to corner the saffron party over the issue by dubbing it as “anti-Bengali” and trying to drive out Bengalis from the state.

“BJP president Amit Shah wants to gauge the public mood about NRC in Bengal in the Assembly byeelections and then only he will take a final call on whether to highlight it in the 2021 Assembly elections,” said a senior state BJP leader.

BJP sources further revealed that among the three Assembly constituencies, which will go to polls in the upcoming byeelections, a significant number of voters in Kaliaganj and Karimpur seat came to India during Partition. “We are not sure how such voters will react to the NRC issue,” the BJP leader said. Apart from the two seats, Kharagpur Sadar will also go to polls in the byeelections on November 28.

“We can only take a final call on using NRC as a poll plank in the 2021 Assembly elections after seeing the results of the by-polls,” said the BJP leader.

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