BJP & NRC in Assam

Historical Past

Congress, in pursuance of its vote bank politics, promoted Bangladeshi migration, particularly in Assam as well as Bengal. The migrants predominantly voted for the Congress. Thus Congress benefitted politically from illegal immigration. Having been around Assam for 3–4 years, I have some understanding of the situation there. The salient features are:

  • Assam has plenty of natural resources, land, vegetation, Brahmaputra & Barak Rivers & plenty of rainfall. Since survival is not difficult the locals are lazy but politically aware. The sparse population and natural resources were ideal for immigration. Two industries came up in the 19th Century Tea & Oil.
  • The locals do not benefit at all from the industries because the labour comes from Bihar, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh/Telangana and management comes from Bengal. It has been so since the British times. The money earned goes outside and the burden of feeding the increased population falls on the existing land of Assam. Practically all immigrants into Assam have prospered. I know of some Sikhs, who came with nothing & became owners of small tea gardens & become much better off than the locals.
  • Numerous islands in the Brahmaputra have been occupied by Bangladeshis who came after 1971 and they cultivate vegetables, which even the Assamese buy.
  • The locals feel bad and want to be the sole beneficiaries of the vast natural resources of Assam. There have been numerous agitations for this. ASSU came up, the insurgent movement by ULFA started. Assam accord was signed by Rajiv. AGP came up and Mahanta even became CM but did nothing other than making money for himself & cronies. (My battalion, 20 PUNJAB took part in OP BAJRANG in 1991 against ULFA).

RSS-Anti-Muslim

BJP, RSS, VHP & other promoters of Hindutva are primarily against Muslims. As a rule Muslims do not vote for the communal BJP. It suits the political interests of the BJP to reduce the number of Muslims. It also wants to amend the Citizenship Act to prevent Muslims from getting Indian citizenship. In Assam BJP’s national agenda could be mixed with the local agenda, which was done & gave political dividends.

BJP’s Agenda for NRC

BJP is not interested in deporting the illegal immigrant Muslims ( Bangladesh will not accept them & it will adversely impact relations with Bangladesh), as much as it is keen to disenfranchise them. The NRC was being pursued with this objective in mind. Reduction in Muslim votes is a political objective for BJP.

Why BJP is Unhappy with NRC?

The results of NRC have not come as anticipated by the BJP. The political agenda has not been accomplished because the:

  • Numbers getting disenfranchised is not as much as expected.
  • The disenfranchised are not all Muslims.
  • The false election promise of identifying and deporting 40 lac illegal immigrants has been exposed.

Please read this: Assam NRC: Why BJP is upset and protesting over its own agenda

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Colonel M.M Nehru

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