In meeting with Amit Shah, Mamata Banerjee discusses NRC
Indian citizens have been excluded from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, told Union home minster, Amit Shah, during a meeting on Thursday, the first between the two since the parliamentary elections.
“No Indian should be put through difficulties,” Banerjee said to reporters after meeting Shah, referring to the 1.9 million people excluded from the NRC in Assam.
The meeting between the two lasted for about 30 minutes.
Banerjee described her meeting with the Union home minister as part of her “constitutional duty”. As a chief minister of a state with boundaries with foreign counties — West Bengal shares boundaries with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal — it is part of “my duty” to meet the Home Minister, she said.
This was the first meeting between Banerjee and the Union home minister after the second Modi government came to power on May 19. The two fought a bitter election in West Bengal where the BJP has emerged the second largest party after Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, winning 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state. In 2014, it won only 2. the TMC saw its tally shrink from 34 in 2014 to 22 this time.
“I have taken NRC up with the home minister. Lives of people excluded from the final NRC list are now uncertain. Several Hindi, Bengali and Gukhali speaking people who have been left out of the NRC,” Banerjee said after the meeting and added that the “the issue of conducting NRC in West Bengal did not come up during the meeting.” The NRC of Assam is a list of those people who are considered to be Indian citizens living in Assam.
“I have come to meet the home minister to discuss the NRC in Assam and told him that many genuine Indians were excluded from the list. I have requested him to do the needful so that they can be included in the NRC as they are in distress,” she added.
“I have requested him to examine their cases and resolve the issues,” she said. “The home minister has assured me that he will look into it.”
Mamata has been critical about the NRC. Last Thursday, she even led a rally in north Kolkata protesting it.
“Our stand — that of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and mine — is consistent; neither Bengal nor Bihar needs NRC in our states,” Banerjee said. The BJP, and, in particular, Shah have said that the NRC process will be repeated across the country to weed out “illegal migrants”.
Banerjee also told reporters that she had raised the issue of renaming West Bengal as “Bangla” with the Prime Minister when she met him on Wednesday.
Monobina Gupta, a political analyst who has also written a book on Banerjee, said, “She is going to stick to her opposition vis-a-vi NRC in Bengal. At the same time she is trying for a diplomatic make-over keeping in mind the 2021 assembly elections.”