BJP’s new Core: NRC-CAB

BJP’s new Core: NRC-CAB

As cries of “betrayal” rang loud in BJP-ruled Assam and people spilled into streets in outrage after the passage of Citizenship Amendment Bill, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing a rally, in Jharkhand sought to assuage the hurt sentiments of the North East region. He promised the "brothers and sisters of Assam”  that they have nothing to worry after the passing of  CAB.

In Guwahati, the Chief Adviser of Assam Students’ Union, Samujal Bhatacharya was, however, livid. “Assam is not Kashmir, Assam is not Tripura, we will not allow Assam to become another Kashmir, another Tripura,” he said.

Assam is the first state where the BJP managed to form a government in 2016. As the battle of narratives played out a day after the contentious Bill was passed by Rajya Sabha, amidst the conflicting stands of parties and ideologies, there was a clear indication of the divide the issue has created in the nation’s polity.

A day after Congress President Sonia Gandhi reacted sharply the bill was passed, saying it marked “victory of narrow-minded and bigoted forces over India’s pluralism”, Modi hit back at Congress and its supporting parties “whose politics is dependent on infiltrators are trying to spread confusion.”

Modi’s personal Twitter account referred to “people who were persecuted as minorities in their countries and fled to India looking for refuge are celebrating the passage of Citizenship Amendment Bill.” 

RSS General Secretary (Sarkaryavah) Bhaiyya Ji Joshi hailed the passage of the bill from both houses as a “courageous” step and greeted the central government - particularly the Prime Minister and the Home Minister - from heart.

The narrative divide affected other parties as well. Erstwhile NDA ally Shiv Sena backed the Bill in Lok Sabha but backed out from doing so in Rajya Sabha, while NDA ally JDU was divided on the issue, with two of its leaders Prashant Kishore and Pawan Kumar Varma, voicing reservations against party’s decision to go with the BJP on the issue.

However, the BJP is now determined to go go the whole hog for a NRC at the national level, which may be all the more contentious.

Despite the categorical assertion by Mamata Banerjee that she will not allow the implementation of the Bill in West Bengal, Shah in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday took the name of “West Bengal” emphatically when he said the CAB will be implemented across the nation.

BJP has hardened its position around its core ideology of Hindutva and is now looking to expand its ambit beyond the traditional three core issues of Ram Mandir, Uniform Civil Code and Abrogation of Article 370 that guaranteed special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

BJP, which fulfilled its first of core promise on abrogation of Article 370, is already on way towards fulfillment of its other promise on the construction of the Ram Temple at Ayodhya. Efforts to bring on the UCC is already underway, and the passage of triple talaq bill is being considered a first step in that direction.

With these three core issues on way to resolution, the NRC and Citizenship Bill are new core issues for the BJP that will cater to its support constituency for years to come.

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