Guwahati, Aug 9: In the wake of the publication of the final draft NRC, the Assam unit of the BJP is seemingly setting its eyes on winning the hearts of the minority communities in the State. While the names of a good section of the minorities have finally made way to the draft NRC, the BJP units in the minority dominated areas are now initiating the move to assist the genuine Indians belonging to the minority communities to get their names into the final NRC through the process of claims set to begin soon.
While the minorities play a significant role in the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls in Assam, hitherto they have been motivated by one or two parties to support those parties during in electoral battles. However, the saffron party now appears to be all set to change the political equation so far as the minority communities are concerned. The draft NRC has now seemingly come in as a shot in the arm for the ruling party to make inroads into domains of the minority communities and the saffron party seems to be making the most of it by approaching the minority communities with a host of programmes and schemes.
Chairman of the Assam Minority Development Board Muminul Aowal said that all along the Congress and the AIUDF have been involved in politics of minority vote banks and that the publication of the draft NRC has brought to an end the game of vote bank politics by the two parties. He said that since independence the Congress has been indulging in politics in the name of the minorities with the latter at the receiving end of exploitation. Again, in the guise of development there was rampant corruption in the country.
He went on to add, “We never considered the minorities as a political tool unlike the Congress. We always stressed on taking the minorities along with the majority community in the same stride while providing equal opportunity of development to all. For the development of the minorities, the Centre as well as the State Governments have initiated several schemes. Soon after taking over charge as the Chief Minister of Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal initiated discussion with as many as 67 minority organizations and sought their advice and suggestion for development of the minorities. The organizations pointed out that the minorities were lagging behind in sectors like education, health and communication and urged the Chief Minister to initiate special programmes for the minorities. On the basis of the discussion and the suggestions made, as of now, the preparatory works have begun to set up 9 girls’ colleges and 21 residential schools in minority areas. Further, under Central schemes, scholarships are being disbursed among minority students as well as skill development programmes for the minorities are being carried out smoothly. Likewise, in the arena of health and communication, a good number of schemes are underway in minority areas.”
On the other hand, the vice president of the State Minority Morcha of the BJP Matiur Rahman said, “ The impression of the minority communities in respect of the BJP has undergone a sea change. Now the minority community people have understood for themselves that we are not anti-minority. In 2015 we had about 3 lakh minority workers in Assam. Now the number has crossed the 7 lakh mark. The fear instilled in respect of the NRC among the minorities by the Congress has now disappeared in the wake of the publication of the draft NRC. We have all along insisted that the NRC is for the genuine Indians and now too we would leave no stone unturned to help the genuine Indians who have been left out to get their names into the final NRC.”