Monday, June 27News That Matters

National Register of Citizens may keep Mamata and Akhil Gogoi apart

Shubhadeep Choudhury

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 6

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee and Assam MLA Akhil Gogoi may find it difficult to work together on a long-term basis because of their differences over the issue of National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Gogoi has recently disclosed that he had been asked by Banerjee to lead TMC in Assam.

Banerjee and Gogoi are both against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA). But unlike others who oppose CAA, Gogoi favours NRC. NRC, updated only in Assam among all states of the country, is widely believed to be a tool to drive away the state’s Bengali-speaking Hindu and Muslim people.

More than 16 lakh people, mostly Bengali-speaking Hindus and Muslims, have been excluded from NRC in Assam as they had failed to produce documents (that could be five decades old or more) to prove their citizenship. A category known as “OI” (original inhabitants) was created to ensure that a more relaxed view was taken in case an Assamese speaker failed to produce similar documents.

Mamata is against the updating of NRC. During the recent Assembly elections in West Bengal she used the NRC issue in a big way to claim that if BJP came to power in the state then all those who would fail to produce documents (“like one’s grandfather’s birth certificate and so on”) would be listed as foreigners and sent to Bangladesh.

“It will be difficult for Mamata and Gogoi to work out a common ground given their diametrically different stands on the issue of NRC,” Asish Choudhury, a Silchar-based political observer said.

Besides Assam, the TMC is also trying to set its foot in Tripura and Kerala. TMC general secretary and Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee visited Tripura on August 2. He told reporters at Agartala that he would soon return there and announce constitution of the party’s state committee.

In Kerala also, the TMC has put up hoardings at various places asking people to join the party.

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