GUWAHATI: Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, while campaigning in Ratabari on Tuesday ahead of the October 21 bypoll, said that Congress is shedding crocodiles tears for the people left out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) as they were the ones to oppose BJP when they had tabled the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Parliament.
"Let Congress now say that it will support the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill," said Sarma, while reminding people that the bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8 but the party could not table it in the Rajya Sabha following which it had lapsed. Noticing a strong support for the bill in the Barak Valley, Sarma said, "Congress is now crying for the poor people left out of the NRC but when the citizenship bill was tabled in Parliament, it did not support it."
BJP has already announced that that the new bill is being drafted and will be introduced after consultation with the stakeholders in November. 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.
Attacking Congress, he said, "During the last 15 years of Congress rule in Assam, many Muslims were killed. Fear was created among them for the sake of vote. There were riots in Kokrajhar, Udalguri and Mangaldoi. Congress plays the game of dividing communities and inciting violence among the Bodos and Muslims."
Claiming that not a single Muslim was killed during BJP's rule in Assam, he said, "We seek vote on the basis of the work we have done. We seek votes for providing gas connections, houses, free CT scan in the hospitals and free admission in educational institutions, while Congress wants votes by creating fear."
Alleging that Congress is dividing the Hindus, he said, "Congress is raking up the issue of locals and non-locals. When Prime minister Narendra Modi, who hails from Gujarat , can contest and win from Varanasi, the question of locals and non-local should not arise. Congress is uselessly creating the issue of Hindu Bengali, Hindi Bhasi and Assamese candidates."
The four assembly seats going to the bypols are are Sonari, Rangapara , Ratabari and Jania. Except Jania, which was under Congress rule, the remaining three constituencies were won by BJP during the 2016 assembly polls.