Congress didn’t support BJP on Citizenship Bill: Assam FM

Guwahati: Launching another attack on the Congress, Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday said that while the party is now showing sympathy towards those left out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), it, however, did not support the BJP-led government in Assam when the latter tried to get the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2016 passed in Parliament.

Sarma was speaking at a public rally at the Bengali Hindu community-dominated Ratabari assembly constituency in Assam’s Barak Valley. The Minister was campaigning for Bijoy Malakar, the BJP candidate for the October 21 bypoll.

“Let the Congress leaders now say that it will support the Citizenship Amendment Bill. The Congress is now crying for those poor people who are left out of NRC. However, when the Citizenship Bill was tabled in Parliament, the party did not support the bill,” said Sarma.

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The Bengali Hindus in Assam, particularly in the Barak Valley, form a substantial portion of over 1.9 million people left out of the NRC published by the government on August 31.

Although the BJP government, in January this year, had failed to get the CAB passed by Parliament, the Centre is currently pursuing the Bill with some modifications. A new updated CAB is likely to be tabled in the forthcoming session of Parliament.

The Bill is aimed at making minority communities such as Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible to apply for Indian citizenship.

“Muslims were killed and frightened during last 15 years of Congress rule in Assam. Fear was created among them for the sake of vote. There were riots in Kokrajhar, Udalguri and Mangaldoi. Congress plays the game of dividing Hindus and inciting divisions among the Bodos and Muslims,” Sarma said.

The Minister also said that not a single Muslim was killed in Assam during BJP rule, adding that the saffron party seeks vote on the basis of its development work.

“We seek votes for the providing gas connection, house, Atal Amrit Abhiyian, free CT scan in hospitals and free admission in educational institutions, while Congress seeks votes by creating fear,” he said.

Linking the Congress and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), Sarma said that the former wants to make AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal the Chief Minister of the state.

“We are not going to allow Ajmal to be Assam’s Chief Minister till our last breath,” he added.

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