Mamata renews NRC fire in heartland pitch

Mamata Banerjee on Friday alleged NRC bias against Hindi-speaking sections in BJP-ruled Assam, seeking to woo people with heartland roots in Bengal ahead of next year's general elections.

By Our Special Correspondent
  • Published 8.09.18
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Calcutta: Mamata Banerjee on Friday alleged NRC bias against Hindi-speaking sections in BJP-ruled Assam, seeking to woo people with heartland roots in Bengal ahead of next year's general elections.

"For me, humanity is foremost, above all else. What is being done in Assam affects 38 lakh Bengalis, yes. But it also directly affects two lakh Biharis.There is an attempt to turn 40 lakh valid citizens into illegal immigrants in their own land," the Bengal chief minister said at a cultural event of the Rashtriya Bihari Samaj.

Addressing an audience of thousands from Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh living in Bengal, Mamata delivered a message of support for the section that, according to unofficial estimates, numbers over 73 lakh.

Such voters are a big factor in 35 Assembly and six to seven Lok Sabha seats in Bengal.

The Trinamul chief has been one of the most vocal critics of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) draft, which excluded 40 lakh in Assam.

Mamata had earlier dubbed the count as an "anti-Bengali" exercise.

On Friday, she suggested it was also loaded against those who trace their origins to the heartland. "This was, and will remain, unthinkable, in Bengal," she said to cheers.

Bengal BJP leaders have vowed a similar exercise in the state if they win power.#Mamata announced a Trinamul cell for Hindi-speaking people and said MLA Arjun Singh - present on the dais - would head it.

"Traditionally, this would be a BJP vote-bank but she has made major inroads here," said Biswanath Chakraborty, professor of political science at Rabindra Bharati University.