Bhoot Bangla?

NRC spec­tre could back­fire in Bengal, BJP should de­sist

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Nation -

The spec­tre of a Na­tional Reg­is­ter of Cit­i­zens (NRC) now looms over Bengal; fear and anx­i­ety are spread­ing as BJP and Tri­namool Congress cross swords over its im­ple­men­ta­tion in the state. That rusty phrase about mai baap sarkar seems freshly rel­e­vant as long queues form be­fore gov­ern­ment of­fices, with peo­ple look­ing to fetch proof of cit­i­zen­ship in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the ex­er­cise. While chief min­is­ter Ma­mata Ban­er­jee has been em­phatic there won’t be an NRC in the state, BJP has been talk­ing up the need for it. Thus, after the NRC ex­er­cise in As­sam, BJP is clearly view­ing NRC in Bengal as its ace in the hole, that will help it top­ple the Tri­namool gov­ern­ment in the 2021 assem­bly polls.

It should think again. The strat­egy could back­fire for BJP, whose star is oth­er­wise ris­ing due to cor­rup­tion and mis­gov­er­nance in the state. Par­ties should de­sist from a race to the bot­tom where they com­pete on who can make peo­ple’s lives more mis­er­able. The As­sam NRC ex­er­cise was noth­ing short of a dis­as­ter with no party happy with the out­come. It’s clear there have been gross er­rors of ex­clu­sion and lakhs of peo­ple were put through great fi­nan­cial pain to prove their cit­i­zen­ship.

Be­sides, there was some le­gal jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the As­sam NRC based on the 1985 As­sam Ac­cord, which at its core sought to pro­tect As­samese iden­tity. None such ex­ists for NRC in Bengal. In fact, here BJP can’t hide NRC’s anti-Mus­lim com­mu­nal agenda. Plus, the Bangladesh­i in­fil­tra­tion bo­gey is yes­ter­day’s story. With Bangladesh notch­ing up im­pres­sive eco­nomic growth and pro­jected to emerge as the fastest grow­ing econ­omy in the Asia-Pa­cific, few push fac­tors ex­ist to­day for Bangladesh­is to cross the bor­der il­le­gally. Taken to­gether, a Bengal NRC will be an­other de­ba­cle with high pain and no gain.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.