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Home / Lok Sabha Elections / Lok Sabha elections 2019: Congress bets on Sushmita Dev to tighten hold in Silchar

Lok Sabha elections 2019: Congress bets on Sushmita Dev to tighten hold in Silchar

Sushmita Dev, the head of the All-India Mahila Congress is vying for a second term in the constituency where the CAB, has won support from Bengali-speaking Hindus for its plans to curtail Muslim immigrants but bestow citizenship upon Hindu, Buddhist and Christians among other minorities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Apr 18, 2019 10:41 IST
Sadiq Naqvi
Sadiq Naqvi
Hindustan Times, Silchar
As a native of the valley, Dev was pushed into a corner when the Congress decided to shed its earlier ambiguity and launch an all-out attack against the CAB.
As a native of the valley, Dev was pushed into a corner when the Congress decided to shed its earlier ambiguity and launch an all-out attack against the CAB.(Subhankar Chakraborty/HT PHOTO)

The Congress is hoping that the position taken by Sushmita Dev, its Lok Sabha candidate from Assam’s Silchar, on the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) will put the brakes on the BJP’s ambitions in the Bengali-speaking Barak valley. Silchar and Karimganj in the valley will vote on April 18.

Dev, the head of the All-India Mahila Congress is vying for a second term in the constituency where the CAB?has won support from Bengali-speaking Hindus for its plans to curtail Muslim immigrants but bestow citizenship upon Hindu, Buddhist and Christians among other minorities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“Nobody knew me in 2014,”?Dev said, during a brisk walk through her constituency that her father, Santosh Mohan Dev, won five times, as compared to the BJP that won it in 1991, 1998 and 2009.

As a native of the valley, Dev was pushed into a corner when the Congress decided to shed its earlier ambiguity and launch an all-out attack against the CAB.

“As far as I am concerned, everybody who is on the 2014 voters’ list is a citizen,” said Dev, who is an outspoken critic of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which is currently being updated and also mired in controversy.

Unlike elsewhere, most migrants in the Barak Valley are Hindu refugees from Bangladesh. According to locals, they form the majority of the over 2,00,000 names excluded from the NRC draft in Cachar district, whose headquarter is Silchar. However, as a Congress candidate, Dev cannot openly support the BJP’s attempt to offer citizenship only to Hindus and other communities and exclude Muslims.

“NRC is a big issue and the harassment of people has only grown in the last three years,” Dev said. “Of course it is,” she said, when asked whether the NRC?was discriminatory to Bengali-speakers. However, she was careful not to distinguish between Hindu and Muslim Bengalis and restrict herself to random examples. “If your surname is Mukherjee, for instance, they ask you for 200 papers,” she said.

Dev is critical of the seeming U-turn taken by Prime Minister? Narendra Modi on CAB, when he visited the valley earlier in April and offered assurances to the Assamese people that he would bring in the bill only after discussion and consensus with all sections of Assamese society.

Earlier, the BJP’s dogged determination to push the CAB through without discussion had lost it a vital ally, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) in the state. The recent re-alliance between the two parties drew sharp criticism from Dev who said that it indicated the BJP was not serious about CAB.

Her enigmatic stand on the CAB seems to have had the desired result. It has blunted the BJP’s campaign and provoked the BJP’s candidate, Rajdeep Roy, a doctor, to repeatedly question the Congress’ exact position on the Bill.

Dev’s jibes at the BJP on the CAB and the NRC may have prompted BJP general secretary Ram Madhav to hold a press conference in Silchar on April 16, the last day of campaigning.

“The NRC and CAB will eventually solve the issue of illegal infiltration. If anyone is left out of the final NRC list, they will have an opportunity to claim citizenship via the CAB,” he promised in a veiled bid to assure Hindu migrants that they stand to benefit from the controversial bill.

Meanwhile, the Congress seems well aware of the benefits it may reap from Dev’s position.

“Our local MP took a strong stand and firmly stood with the people of the Barak Valley, so the balance has tilted in our favour,” claimed Harish Rawat, Congress general secretary, in-charge of Assam earlier this week. “CAB has no relevance because the BJP already branded 40 lakh persons whose names were not on the NRC draft as ‘infiltrators’ (ghuspethiye). This hurt the sentiments of Bengali speakers,” he said.

The list of so-called infiltrators includes both Hindus and Muslims.

“Congress has made it clear citizenship of those who have come from Bangladesh was never in doubt and will not be in doubt in future,” Harish Rawat said.

 

ConstituencySitting MP
Assam
KarimganjRadheshyam Biswas, AIUDF
SilcharSushmita Dev, Congress
Autonomous DistrictBiren Singh Engti, Congress
MangaldoiRamen Deka, BJP
NawgongRajen Gohain, BJP
Bihar
KishanganjMohammad Asrarul Haque, Congress
KatiharShah Tariq Anwar, NCP
PurniaSantosh Kumar, JD(U)
BhagalpurShailesh Kumar (Bulo Mandal), RJD
BankaJai Prakash Narayan Yadav, RJD
Chhattisgarh
RajnandgaonAbhishek Singh, BJP
MahasamundChandulal Sahu, BJP
KankerVikram Dev Usendi, BJP
Jammu and Kashmir
SrinagarFarooq Abdullah, National Conference
UdhampurDr. Jitendra Singh, BJPs
Karnataka
Udupi ChikmagalurShobha Karandlaje, BJP
HassanH.D. Deve Gowda, JD(S)
Dakshina KannadaNalin Kumar Kateel, BJP
ChitradurgaB.N.Chandrappa, Congress
TumkurS. P. Muddahanumegowda, Congress
MandyaCS Puttaraju, JD(S)
MysorePrathap Simha, BJP
ChamrajanagarR Dhruvanarayana, Congress
Bangalore RuralDK Suresh, Congress
Bangalore NorthDV Sadananda Gowda, BJP
Bangalore CentralPC Mohan, BJP
Bangalore SouthVacant after Ananth Kumar’s death in 2018
ChikkaballapurVeerappa Moily, Congress
KolarKH Muniyappa, Congress
Maharashtra
BuldhanaJadhav Prataprao Ganpatrao, Shiv Sena
AkolaDhotre Sanjay Shamrao, BJP
AmravatiAdsul Anandrao Vithoba, Shiv Sena
HingoliRajeev Shankarrao Satav, Congress
NandedAshok Shankarrao Chavan, Congress
ParbhaniJadhav Sanjay (Bandu) Haribhau, Shiv Sena
BeedPritam Gopinathrao Munde, BJP
OsmanabadGaikwad Ravindra Vishwanath, Shiv Sena
LaturDr. Sunil Baliram Gaikwad, BJP
SolapurSharad Bansode, BJP
Manipur
Inner ManipurThokchom Meinya, Congress
Odisha
BargarhPrabas Kumar Singh, BJD
SundargarhJual Oram, BJP
BolangirKalikesh Narayan Singh Deo, BJD
KandhamalPratyusha Rajeshwari Singh, BJD
AskaLadu Kishore Swain, BJD
ConstituencySitting MP
Tamil Nadu
TiruvallurDr. P. Venugopal, AIADMK
Chennai NorthTG Venkatesh Babu, AIADMK
Chennai SouthJ Jayavardhan, AIADMK
Chennai CentralSR Vijayakumar, AIADMK
SriperumbudurKN Ramachandran, AIADMK
KancheepuramK Maragatham, AIADMK
ArakkonamG Hari, AIADMK
VelloreB. Senguttuvan., AIADMK
KrishnagiriK Ashok Kumar, AIADMK
DharmapuriAnbumani Ramadoss, PMK
TiruvannamalaiVanaroja R, AIADMK
AraniV Elumalai, AIADMK
VillupuramRajendran S., AIADMK
KallakurichiK. Kamaraj, AIADMK
SalemV Pannerselvam, AIADMK
NamakkalPR Sundaram, AIADMK
ErodeS Selvakumara Chinnayan, AIADMK
TiruppurV.Sathyabama, AIADMK
NilgirisC Gopalakrishnan, AIADMK
CoimbatoreP Nagarajan, AIADMK
PollachiC Mahendran, AIADMK
DindigulM Udhayakumar, AIADMK
KarurM Thambidurai, AIADMK
TiruchirappalliKumar.P, AIADMK
PerambalurRP Marutharajaa, AIADMK
CuddaloreA Arunmozhithevan, AIADMK
ChidambaramM Chandrakasi, AIADMK
MayiladuthuraiRK Bharathi Mohan, AIADMK
NagapattinamDr K Gopal, AIADMK
ThanjavurK Parasuraman, AIADMK
SivagangaPR Senthilnathan, AIADMK
MaduraiR Gopalakrishnan, AIADMK
TheniR Parthipan, AIADMK
VirudhunagarRadhakrishnan T., AIADMK
RamanathapuramAnwhar Raajhaa, AIADMK
ThoothukkudiJeyasingh Thiyagaraj Natterjee.J, AIADMK
TenkasiM Vasanthi, AIADMK
TirunelvelliPrabakaran.K.R.P, AIADMK
KanniyakumariPon Radhakrishnan, BJP
Uttar Pradesh
NaginaYashwant Singh, BJP
AmrohaKanwar Singh Tanwar, BJP
BulandshahrBhola Singh, BJP
AligarhSatish Kumar Gautam, BJP
HathrasRanjan Kumar Diwakar, BJP
MathuraHema Malini, BJP
AgraRam Shankar Katheria, BJP
Fatehpur SikriChaudhary Babulal, BJP
West Bengal
JalpaiguriBijoy Chandra Barman, Trinamool
DarjeelingSS Ahluwalia, BJP
RaiganjMd Salim, CPI(M)
Puducherry
PuducherryR Radhakrishnan, AINRC