The Centre’s recent decision to regulate the entry and stay of all Hindu Bengalis from Bangladesh and to waive the provisions of the Passport (Entry into India) Act of 1920 and the Foreigners Act, 1946 in their case 68 years after the partition of India, reeks very strongly of vote-bank politics. After all, where are most of the Hindu Bengali migrants from Bangladesh at this point of time? They are in Assam. Where would they like to be if they are allowed to enter India and settle down here even without travel documents? Certainly not in Tamil du or Kartaka or Gujarat, but rather in Assam. Their most favoured destition, mely West Bengal, is already out of bounds to them because of the stringent guarding of the border between Bangladesh and West Bengal. And in making this unexpected provision for lakhs of Rip Van Winkles 68 years after the partition of India and just months before the Assembly elections of Assam, the Centre has clearly indicated that its intentions are far from being altruistic. They are rather geared to the needs of creating another illegal vote-bank in Assam to counter the one huge illegal vote-bank of Bangladeshi Muslims that already exists here. It is time for people in Assam and the media to resist this nefarious design of the BJP merely to win elections regardless of the harm that such an engineered demographic change is going to do to Assam. It is time for the people of Assam to tell the NDA government at the Centre that its seemingly ‘altruistic’ proposal for the Hindus of Bangladesh can be countenced only if this additiol load of migrants is distributed in all the States of India. Assam has long been used as a dumping ground for Bangladeshis, and this process cannot be allowed to go on. Let the Centre’s ‘altruism’ reflect a tiol character instead of being just Assam-centric for the 2016 elections of the State. The honesty of the Centre’s claims of being concerned about the welfare and progress of Assam will be judged by whether it can place the real long-term interests of Assam above the petty electoral equations of the NDA.
Vote-bank Politics Again