West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today termed the National Register of Citizens (NRC) as a ploy by the BJP-led central government to exact "vendetta" against those opposed to its political ideology, and declared that she will not allow such an exercise to be taken up in her state.
"We will never let the BJP implement NRC in West Bengal. It is an attempt by the centre to distract the people's attention from the ongoing economic crisis in the country," news agency PTI quoted her as saying in the state assembly, soon after it passed a resolution condemning the exercise.
Over 19 lakh people were left out of the final NRC list published late last month in neighbouring Assam. The exercise was aimed at identifying immigrants from Bangladesh and other countries residing illegally in the northeastern state.
"Every pillar of democracy is being run by central advisories. The names of genuine Indians have been excluded from NRC list," Ms Banerjee claimed in the assembly, quoting former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to say that the government should "concentrate on the economy instead of exacting political vendetta".
The Trinamool Congress chief said that although there are few in the country who can speak against the BJP, her views on the NRC have been echoed by those in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance too. "I spoke to Nitish Kumar, and he said he won't allow the NRC to be conducted in Bihar either," she said.
Janata Dal United chief Nitish Kumar heads a coalition government in Bihar along with the BJP. Over the last few months, his party was seen opposing other central initiatives such as the Triple Talaq Bill and the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir's special status too.
Even as Ms Banerjee came out strongly against the NRC in the Bengal assembly, the state's Vishwa Hindu Parishad unit recommended the speedy implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Bill - a legislation that aims to expedite the citizenship of non-Muslim migrants from neighbouring countries - to ensure that the NRC exercise is carried out smoothly in Bengal.
The Assam NRC list was also denounced by right-wing activists, who claimed that it had left out many Hindu migrant families who would ultimately benefit from the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
(With inputs from Agencies)
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