GUWAHATI: Assam BJP chief Ranjeet Kumar Dass on Sunday claimed that the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act is not an issue in the upcoming assembly elections in the state as people will vote logically, not emotionally.
In an interview with PTI, the senior ruling party leader said that people are convinced that not a single foreigner can illegally settle in Assam as long as the BJP is in power in the state.
“There will be no impact (of CAA) on elections and the people of Assam have earlier shown that. When the citizenship issue was at its peak, we had participated in the panchayat polls, asking people to question us if any foreigner enters Assam. We bagged the highest number of seats in that election,” he said.
The former Assembly speaker said that the CAA issue had cropped up even during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections but the BJP succeeded in increasing its tally from seven to nine seats.
“We swept the Tiwa autonomous council polls, while the Congress scored a duck. The Congress also did not win any seat in the Bodoland Territorial Region elections. The CAA will not be an issue in the assembly elections also as people will vote logically, not emotionally,” Dass said.
The two-time sitting MLA from Sarbhog constituency said that the party workers have gone to every booth and asked people whether any foreigner has come to their area after the enactment of the CAA.
“It was claimed that 1.5 crore immigrants will come to the state but not a single person has arrived yet. We had asserted that no foreigner can enter Assam as long as the BJP is in power in the state. People are convinced by our promise.”
“How can foreigners come and settle in Assam when we have such tight security arrangements?” Dass said.
The opposition Congress, however, is aggressively raising the CAA issue in its poll campaign, promising to nullify the law if the Grand Alliance led by it comes to power in the state.
The grand old party has announced that it will build a martyrs’ memorial in Guwahati for the five anti-CAA protesters who were killed in police firing in 2019.
It also launched a door-to-door campaign to collect 1 lakh ‘gamocha’ (Assamese scarf) with anti-CAA messages written on them to adorn the memorial.
Two newly floated parties Raijor Dal and Assam Jatiya Parishad, in their election campaign, are also raking up the issue of CAA, which seeks to grant citizenship to Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi immigrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who have entered India on or before December 31, 2014.
Despite the opposition’s concerted effort to build a public opinion based on CAA, Dass exuded confidence that the BJP-led NDA will win over 100 seats in the 126-member assembly.
“We are working with a 100-plus target,” he said.
The BJP is contesting the assembly elections in an alliance with Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL), who are part of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), the regional arm of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
The Congress, which was in power in Assam for 15 years since 2001, has formed a ‘Grand Alliance’ with AIUDF, BPF, CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML), Anchalik Gana Morcha (AGM), RJD and Jimochayan (Deori) Peoples’ Party (JPP) to fight the elections against the BJP-led NDA.
Elections will be held in three phases on March 27, April 1 and April 6.
Results will be declared on May 2.
The 2016 elections in Assam gave a fractured mandate as no party got an absolute majority.
The BJP had emerged as the single-largest party with 60 MLAs, while its allies Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) had won 14 and 12 seats respectively.
The ruling coalition also had the support of an Independent MLA.
The Congress had won 26 seats, while the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) bagged 13 constituencies.