The Congress Working Committee (CWC) will meet on Saturday — for the second time in two weeks — to discuss the political controversy triggered by the publication of the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC)in Assam. Though it will also discuss the party’s response to the development and deliberate on ways to scale up the attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Rafale fighter aircraft deal and the job situation, but top on its agenda will be the NRC issue.
A report in the The Indian Express states that there is “unease” among a section of the leaders in the manner in which the NRC issue has played out, especially since the ruling BJP has tried to frame it into a binary and asked the Congress whether it was for protecting illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. The opinion is divided in the Congress and leaders hope the CWC will bring clarity.
Leaders from Assam argue illegal immigration was a sensitive topic in the State and hence the party should come out aggressively stating that the NRC was its brainchild but its implementation was mishandled by the BJP governments at the Centre and the State. Another section argues that the party should not focus much on the NRC and exclusion of 40 lakh people, arguing it would amount to playing into the hands of the BJP, which they allege is trying to use the issue to polarise on religious lines outside Assam.
The report also stated that the “aggressive stance” adopted by the West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, accusing the BJP of trying to provoke a civil war and bloodshed over the NRC issue — has also put the Congress in a quandary. A section of the Congress leaders argue that the party should clearly distinguish its line from that of the Trinamool Congress chief, who it believes stands to gain in Bengal with such a belligerent posture. In fact, Assam Congress chief Ripun Bora on Wednesday condemned her statement and argued that Assam is a “peaceful State”.