Two leaders of the Trinamool Congress from Assam have quit the party to protest against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s stand on the release of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) draft in the north eastern state. The two leaders who have ended their association with Banerjee’s party are Diganta Saikia and Pradeep Pachoni. The duo said that Banerjee has been making comments and questioning the NRC without having ‘any knowledge’.
They said that Banerjee is unaware of the ground situation and her remarks on the sensitive issue are an attempt to divide the state. “There is a difference between what Mamata Banerjee is saying and what the ground reality is in Assam,” Saikia said.
The development is seen as a setback for Mamata who is relentlessly targeting the Modi government by accusing it of interfering in the release of the NRC draft and resorting to polarisation ahead of the general elections. The resignation of the two TMC leaders comes on a day when a delegation of TMC MPs is visiting the NE state to assess the situation. Banerjee is also expected to visit Assam soon.
On Monday, the draft was published with 2.90 crore names and remaining 40 lakh names were left out. Addressing a conclave same day, Banerjee had said that the this will lead to a situation similar to ‘civil war’ in the country.
Banerjee is currently in Delhi where she is meeting opposition leaders to seek their support on the matter. She had also met Home Minister Rajnath Singh and demanded that the government amend the NRC Act or reintroduce it in the Parliament in order to protect 40 lakh people.
According to 2016 data tabled by the government in the Lok Sabha, nearly 2 crore illegal Bangladeshi immigrants are currently staying in the country, mostly in West Bengal and Assam.