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Draft NRC: Nervous Congress may adopt soft Hindutva after Amit Shah terms "illegal" immigrants as intruders

By Our Representative
Close on the heels of BJP president Amit Shah saying that those whose names are not in Assam’s draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) – most of them Muslims – are "intruders", as they have failed to prove their Indian citizenship, a nervous Congress appears all set to adopt what many critics qualify a soft Hindutva approach.
At recent closed-door meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the view has reportedly went strong that BJP may win the perception battle, hence the Congress should “change its stance” on NRC, and try to placate the BJP by “consciously ensuring” that party leaders don’t make “provocative statements” or seek to highlight that the BJP is using the draft NRC to target Muslims.
Following the CWC meet, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, addressing media, insisted that the party was committed to the 1985 Assam accord signed by Rajiv Gandhi, pledging the party’s wholehearted support for the NRC process for which, he said, Manmohan Singh had sanctioned a whopping sum of Rs 489 crore and appointed 25,000 enumerators.
At the CWC meet, the view went strong that nothing should be done that can give an handle to “propagate” the saffron party’s “communal agenda”, adding, it was agreed that the Congress should declare NRC is its baby, since the process of identifying “illegal citizens” in Assam was initiated under Manmohan Singh.
At the same time, it was decided, that the party shouldn’t leave no stone unturned to provide legal help to genuine citizens whose names have been left out of the NRC, the report says, adding, the Congress’ position was “firmed up” following Shah trying to make the draft NRC report a national poll issue.
Shah declared in Parliament, as also in a press conference, that it is only his party, which has shown the courage to implement the NRC and curb illegal infiltration at a time when the Congress “failed” to act on it even though the Assam accord was signed by Rajiv Gandhi in 1985.
CWC members admitted, says the report, that as against BJP’s “aggressive pitch”, which had virtually left the Congress high and dry, the party’s initial reaction, which tried to make the point that the NRC was initiated by the UPA, was in fact perceived to be “defensive and apologetic.”
Meanwhile, Swati Chaturvedi, formerly with the BJP’s IT Cell and now one of the sharpest critics of the saffron party,and author the award-winning book “I am a Troll - Inside the BJP’s secret digital army”, has said that the RSS has already come up with the view that the “migrants” be identified be put in “camps”, an “ominous and harking back to Nazi Germany”, adding, the Sangh in fact “draws a lot of inspiration from fascism.”
Pointing out that a wary opposition “is trying to ensure that it does not fall in to Shah’s trap”, Chaturvedi believes, what one should remember is that “what Shah is trying to spin as a Hindu-Muslim issue in reality is often a Bengali speaking Hindu versus an Asamiya speaking Hindu. Or a Bodo speaker versus a Bengali speaker.” 
Insisting that “language is one of the key markers of the conflict, which has simmered for decades”, the scribe warns, “The citizens register has the potential to ignite a potent war.” She quotes a senior BJP leader as telling her that “the register was on a par with the Ram mandir (temple) issue, which the BJP has milked for electoral benefits for years.”
“He laughed and said ‘tareek nahi batayengey par mandir wahi banayengey’ (we won’t tell you the date, but we will construct the Ram temple in Ayodhya)”, the scribe says, adding, “Realistically the chance of turning four million people in to non-citizens is low, but what the BJP hopes is that they will not vote and this ‘nationalist’ endeavour will pay all across India.”

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