Guwahati, February 26, 2019
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on February 26th, 2019 trained his guns on Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre on the much-debated Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
“Congress stopped passage of the Bill at the Rajya Sabha. The people of the Northeast must remember that Congress stood with the people of the Northeast in their times of need. Congress is committed to protecting the language, customs, traditions of the people of the Northeast,” he said while addressing a public rally at the Khanapara Veterinary College Playground in Guwahati.
Rahul on February 26th, 2019 kicked off his party’s campaign in Guwahati for the forthcoming general elections. Scores of Congress workers and supporters thronged to hear Rahul “who stood firm and defeated the anti-constitutional Citizenship (Amendment) Bill” at Khanapara.
“By promising citizenship to illegal immigrants through the Citizenship Bill, the BJP proves that it has no intent to execute National Register of Citizens and Assam Accord and is only promoting its own vote bank politics in Northeast. In the Northeast, there is an attack by the RSS on history, language and lifestyle. The RSS ideology has destroyed all the Northeast states,” he added.
In the last general elections, the Congress won just three seats out of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in the state while the BJP won seven seats. The general elections, 2019 are expected to be held in April and May 2019 to constitute the 17th Lok Sabha.
Rahul also said that Congress will restore the Special Status category to Assam. “Congress party had given Special Status to Assam. Narendra Modi, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), BJP took that away from Assam. When we come back to power, Special Status for Assam will be restored,” he said.
The main reason why North East is rioting today is due to Citizenship Amendment Bill, which is anti-North East. Congress party stopped it in Rajya Sabha. We stood with you when you needed us: Congress President @RahulGandhi #NorthEastWelcomesRahulGandhi pic.twitter.com/DOl4UOFxIq
— Congress (@INCIndia) February 26, 2019
He added, “North East Industrial Policy was introduced to promote industries and create jobs in North East. The BJP stole that away too. We will bring it back and open all the paper mills that were shut down.”
It may be mentioned that in a major setback for the ruling BJP, the Bill was not tabled in the Upper House of the Parliament on February 13th, 2019. It may be mentioned that the Bill has lapsed as the Rajya Sabha failed to pass it on the last day of the Budget session.
The BJP government at the Centre has been pitching for the early passage of the legislation. The Citizenship Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8th, 2019. Facing stiff opposition from its own allies in the northeast, the Modi government has opted against an ordinance on the Citizenship Bill on February 19th, 2019.
Protest in Assam
The opposition parties in Assam, students’ bodies and the civil societies are protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, claiming it will change the region’s demography and violates the historic 1985 Assam Accord. The entire Northeast also witnessed violent protest against the passage of the Bill.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, to grant nationality to people belonging to minority communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians — in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of their residence in India.