CM admits ‘mistake’ in not pushing for electoral rolls when NRC modalities were fixed
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, June 26: Under fire for his proposal that electoral rolls be considered the basis for updating the NRC, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today sought to justify himself by insisting that the Election Commission of India has "a responsibility to prepare a foreigner-free electoral roll".
At the same time, Gogoi claimed that he had merely proposed to make the electoral rolls an "additiol document" as many is the State are facing problems in finding their legacy data.
Undeterred by brickbats from the Governor, AASU, BJP and other organizations, the Chief Minister said he will take up the matter with the Central government and "it is up to it whether to consider the proposal or not."
Though he indicated that the State government might also move the Supreme Court suggesting the new proposal, Gogoi, however, refrained from replying to a poser as to what will the State government do if the Centre rejects the proposal. "I would not like to answer this hypothetical question," he parried.
"Since 1985, nobody has questioned the electoral rolls. If anyone feels there are foreigners in the voters list, they should go to the Election Commission of India. All the elected representatives - MPs and MLAs - have contested elections on the basis of these voters' lists. If there are foreigners in the list, we all should resign," Gogoi told a press conference.
"The electoral rolls are prepared by the Election Commission of India. It has a responsibility to prepare a foreigner-free roll," Gogoi said.
Asked as to why the State government did not take up the issue when the modalities of the NRC update exercise were being framed, Gogoi admitted it was a "mistake" on the part of his government.
On the raging tussle with Raj Bhavan, the Chief Minister referred to the appointees to the court of Dibrugarh University and said, "There were more prominent and eligible people who could have been selected. I was not consulted (by the Governor) at all. Let the people be the judge."
The Chief Minister also claimed that the State government had proposed six towns of the State for the ambitious Smart City plan, but the Central government approved only one (Tinsukia) for the State. "However, the Central government has approved the Atal Mission for Rejuvetion and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme, which replaces the Jawaharlal Nehru tiol Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), for six towns in the State," he said.
When pointed out the charge by BJP that the State government has been failing to take up the proposals with the Centre, he said, "Ok I have failed…but what were the seven BJPs MPs of the State doing? It is their government. Why couldn't they influence the Central government to get things done for their State?"