New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) might have promised to implement the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in West Bengal, but the law has found no mention in its manifesto for Assam released by party president J.P. Nadda Tuesday.
The manifesto, however, does mention the National Register of Citizens (NRC) among its 10 promises.
“We will initiate the process of the correction and reconciliation of entries under the Supreme Court mandated National Register of Citizens in a structured manner to protect genuine Indian citizens and exclude all illegal immigrants,” it says.
While launching the manifesto for West Bengal Sunday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said the party will implement the CAA in the “first cabinet meeting itself”.
The manifesto for Assam, called ‘Sankalp Patra’, was released in Guwahati in the presence of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, senior minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, and Assam BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass, four days before the first phase of elections. The three-phase polls will conclude on 6 April, with the results to be declared on 2 May.
What manifesto says about CAA, NRC
The manifesto states that the BJP “will work on a corrected NRC for Assam’s protection. We will protect genuine Indian citizens and detect infiltrators to ensure the Ahom civilisation stays safe. To protect Assam’s political rights, a delimitation process will be sped up”.
ThePrint asked Assam BJP chief Dass to explain why the party is taking different lines on the CAA in his state and neighbouring West Bengal. He said: “We are concentrating on Assam civilisation and it’s there in our manifesto. CAA is not an issue for Assam. But our stand on the matter is quite clear that it is a central legislation. As far as illegal immigrants are concerned, I have clearly told my workers that not a single infiltrator should enter Assam.”
Under the head of ‘strengthening internal security apparatus’, the manifesto says: “We will use advanced technologies to further secure riverine borders to clamp down on infiltration from the Bangladesh border.”
On ‘implementation of the Assam Accord’, the BJP manifesto says it will provide free medical treatment to the next of kin to the martyrs of the Assam agitation, Bodo agitation and Karbi agitation.
“We will pursue strongly the appeal before the Honourable Supreme Court of India to ensure the correction and reconciliation of the National Register of Citizens in Assam,” it says.
Meanwhile, party chief Nadda, when asked about the Congress’ promise to do away with the CAA if voted to power, said: “CAA is a central legislation. It was passed by Parliament. It will be implemented in letter and spirit. When a party (Congress) is handed over to children, this is what happens. A state legislation cannot change central legislation. Either it’s ignorance or an attempt to cheat.”
Promises of development
In the manifesto, the BJP has also promised a law against the “menace of ‘love jihad’ and ‘land jihad’”, apart from jobs for the youth and bicycles for girl students.
It has also assured that entrepreneur schools will be developed, along with the right financial support and environment. “We will empower all citizens with land rights to develop them. Landless Indian citizens will also be provided land rights,” the manifesto says.
The party has also promised the creation of new jobs. “We are committed to make Assam the fastest job-creating state in the country. We will provide two lakh jobs in the public sector — one lakh till 31 March 2022 and the rest till later. We will also provide eight lakh jobs in the private sector,” the manifesto says.
Unveiling the BJP’s vision, Nadda said “we have gained momentum of development. We are standing for a big leap. With these aspirations, we have put our words in 10 commitments to the people of Assam”.
“We will stop illegal encroachments from Namghars (prayer houses) and help them with Rs 2.5 lakh each for proper reconstruction. Under Mission Shishu Unnayan, we’re committed to provide quality education. For the girl child, after class VIII, we will provide cycles as well,” the party has promised.
Nadda added that the BJP will build big reservoirs around the Brahmaputra to conserve extra water to save people from floods, and that 30 lakh deserving families will be paid financial support of Rs 3,000 per month under the ‘Orunodoi’ scheme.
(Edited by Shreyas Sharma)