The BJP is attempting to polarise country over the Assam citizens’ list ahead of next year’s election to divert attention from its failures, the Congress’s highest decision-making body concluded on Saturday, vowing to work closely with other opposition parties to put the spotlight back on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s track record on corruption and lack of jobs.
The Congress hit the ground running, reviving its sharp attacks on the BJP-led national coalition over the government’s clean chit to fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi, the controversial deal to buy Rafale fighter jets and the lack of employment opportunities for the youth.
“Whether it is Rafale or the bank scandals… these are big issues. In the coming days, you will see the opposition speak in one,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, adding that these issues would be effectively raised in parliament by party lawmakers. Outside, other leaders will lead a public campaign to corner the government.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi later tweeted that the top party panel had discussed the political situation. He also referred to “the huge opportunity for the Congress to highlight issues of corruption and failure of the government to provide jobs to our youth”. This is the second meeting chaired by him in a fortnight. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi skipped today’s meeting.
On the row over the exclusion of 4 lakh people from the Assam citizens’ list, the Congress Working Committee also appeared to have fine-tuned its strategy to counter the shrill attacks from the BJP that accuses them of supporting illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.
In parliament this week, BJP chief Amit Shah had claimed the BJP was implementing the Assam Accord that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had signed because only PM Modi had the courage that it took to build the register.
Randeep Singh Surjewala, the Congress spokesman said the pact was signed by Rajiv Gandhi for peace and development in Assam. He called it “a baby of Assam Accord” and underlined that it was only the UPA government that had taken the first concrete step to build this database in 2005. It had spent over Rs 400 crore on the exercise unlike the Rs 5 lakh that the Congress claimed, had been earmarked by the previous NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The draft citizens’ list that has excluded 40 people is the first step to build the register that had started during its tenure, Mr Surjewala said.