BJP taps immigrant issue to pull in votes
As it fights with the Asom Gana Parishad for the same support base, the BJP is focusing on fears of illegal migration from Bangaldesh swamping Assam. Shekhar Iyer reports.delhi Updated: Apr 11, 2011 15:11 IST
As it fights with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) for the same support base, the BJP is focusing on fears of illegal migration from Bangaldesh swamping Assam.
A document released by party chief Nitin Gadkari has pledged to make Assam a “demographically secure state”.
Releasing the document, Gadkari even promised an Israeli-style security system to check influx from Bangladesh to make Assam “illegal infiltration-free state”.
“There are latest technologies available to check infiltration across the international border. Israel has done that. We will also do so to stop illegal entry,” he had said a day ago.
Though the AGP was born out of the students’ agitation against foreigners in the 1980s, it has not been focusing as much on the issue of infiltration, BJP leaders say. Also, the Congress’s winning strategy largely hinges on the support of the minorities in the state.
The BJP has revived the issue, saying it will deport all Bangladeshis from Assam but provide citizenship to the Hindu immigrants.
The “BJP Vision 2025” for Assam outlined an 8-point strategy to combat the problem, including preparing and publishing the NRC (National Register of Citizens) as early as possible. It also promised to carry out drastic overhaul of electoral rolls that will ensure inclusion of displaced communities and expulsion of infiltrators.
BJP leaders say the issue has struck a chord in many parts of Assam where the problem of illegal migration has assumed a serious proportion. The party has fielded candidates in all of the state’s 126 seats, including 15 in the three districts of the Barak Valley.
The BJP finds its stakes are high in Assam, having won 10 seats in the 2006 elections.
The party’s Vision Document for Assam also promises to implement some schemes and programmes carried out successfully by the BJP governments in other states, namely the Soil Health Card scheme of Gujarat, e-procurement model of Karnataka, PDS system of Chhattisgarh, and “environment friendly policies” of Himachal Pradesh.