GUWAHATI, Nov 1 - Criticizing the postponement of the visit to Assam by the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today alleged that the decision to defer the visit has been taken on the advice of the State Government.
Addressing a press conference here, Gogoi said that the State Government has advised the postponement of the JPC’s visit as the BJP is apprehensive that it will affect its prospects in the forthcoming by-elections to the Lakhimpur Lok Sabha and Baithalangso Assembly constituencies.
He added that BJP realizes that most people in the State are opposed to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
“With bypolls approaching, the BJP was aware that JPC’s deliberations will affect the poll prospects of the party. And so the State Government devised the deferment of the visit,” Gogoi said.
The former Chief Minister also alleged that State Government is making no effort to increase the pace of NRC update work.
“Earlier BJP had targeted our Congress government stating that we were delaying the NRC work. But why is there delay now? NRC work has slowed down. Money has not been released to the NRC authority,” Gogoi said.
He said that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, if passed, will not only violate the Assam Accord and the NRC framework but also the Constitution of India which does not allow discrimination or favouritism on the basis of religion.
Gogoi urged the Centre to withdraw the Bill immediately and complimented West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar for their stand against it.
He said BJP wants to create division among communities. “We do not want politics based on religion. A foreigner is a foreigner, irrespective of his or her religion.
Gogoi added, “Himanta Biswa Sarma said we should welcome Bangladeshi Hindus. The Chief Minister says we should protect the indigenous communities. Whom should we believe? And these are the people who talk of jati, mati and bheti. We know the stand of Himanta on the issue (of the Bill). We know the stand of the State BJP. But what is the stand of the Chief Minister? Why does Sonowal not clarify his stand?”