The ruling BJP, which was propelled to power in Assam over its commitment to the National Register of Citizens (NRC), is very upset with the final version. The BJP is pleading a review of the NRC list, while another section of BJP leaders are looking towards the Central government to bring in some legislative mechanism to fix what they see as a problem — to get a large number of Hindus left out of NRC included on the list.
While the NRC authorities have not yet released any data on those left out, BJP leaders feel a majority of those left out are non-Muslims and BJP supporters. This was more visible when powerful Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said only those who worshipped Hanuman, Krishna, Ram or Lord Vishnu were left out of the NRC.
He also claimed “legacy” papers have been managed by a substantial number of people, rendering the process of updating the NRC ineffective. He noted the NRC authorities had rejected the “refugee certificates” of hundreds of Hindus who had come from Bangladesh prior to 1971 due to religious persecution.
The BJP is also not happy as the exclusion of only 19 lakh people has potentially killed the “anti-foreigner” campaign plank of the BJP. It is significant that the campaign against the alleged infiltrators had played a huge role in the BJP winning the 2016 Assembly elections in Assam, and recording an impressive performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, and bettering it in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
After the first NRC list was published last year, BJP president Amit Shah, now Union home minister, had said 40 lakh people were found to be outsiders and those left out of the NRC were “infiltrators”.
Now, the BJP’s infiltrator bogey appears to have boomeranged on them if the final NRC numbers are correct. If insiders in the BJP are to be believed, party workers have been asked to intensify their campaign against the NRC and win over the confidence of those left out by extending them legal support.