Union Home Minister and BJP chief Amit Shah on Monday set a 2024 deadline for identifying "each and every" illegal immigrant in the country and deporting them before the next general election. Speaking at election rallies in Jharkhand on the National Register of Citizens in Assam, Mr Shah lashed out at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for showing concern about those left out of the list of legal residents.
"Rahul baba says don't expel them. Where will they go, what will they eat? Are they your chachere bhai (cousins)? I assure you that before the country goes to polls in 2024 all illegal immigrants will be thrown out," he told election rallies in Chakradharpur and Baharagora.
"Today, I want to tell you that before the 2024 polls the NRC will be conducted across the country and each and every infiltrator identified and expelled," he said.
Nearly 20 lakh people were left out of the National Register of Citizens or NRC in Assam, published on August 31 this year as part of a Supreme Court-ordered exercise to identify legal residents. They have been given four months to challenge their exclusion.
Mr Shah said national issues like uprooting terrorism, Maoist extremism and construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya were as important in the Jharkhand elections as local matters like development.
Speaking on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri mosque dispute, the BJP president alleged the Congress made attempts to stall the hearing of the case in the Supreme Court.
"With your (people's) backing, we submitted that it be taken forward, and the result is that the top court has ruled that only a Ram temple will be built in Ayodhya," he said.
He also attacked the opposition alliance of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha , Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal, which hopes to oust the ruling BJP in Jharkhand.
He said Raghubar Das provided a "zero corruption" government and gave the state political stability.
"Rahul Gandhi is in Jharkhand today. I challenge him to give an account of what Congress governments have done for Jharkhand during 55 years of their rule. We will also give an account of what we have done in five years," he said.
(With inputs from PTI)