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Manipur BJP MLA Jabs Congress With Rahul Gandhi’s 2019 Tweet On NRC, CAA


Manipur BJP MLA Rajkumar Imo Singh speaks to party supporters in the state capital Imphal

Imphal/Guwahati:

This election season, the ruling BJP in the border state Manipur has opened a new front against the Congress over the National Register of Citizens (NRC), and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, or CAA. The Manipur assembly on March 1 passed a resolution that asked the Centre to begin the process of carrying out the NRC exercise to identify illegal immigrants and deport them.

Continuing the offensive from where he left last week, BJP MLA Rajkumar Imo Singh told supporters in Imphal that not a single Congress MLA was present inside the assembly when the resolution on the NRC was passed.

“All five of them were outside, posing for photos and talking on camera. Later, we came to know why,” Mr Singh said.

He took out his phone in front of party supporters and showed a 2019 post by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on the microblogging website X, formerly Twitter, which criticised the NRC and the CAB – a bill then, CAB in short – as “weapons of mass polarisation”.

“And why did the Congress MLAs walk out of the assembly during the NRC resolution? In 2019, Rahul Gandhi tweeted ‘CAB and NRC are weapons of mass polarisation… I stand in solidarity with all those protesting peacefully against the CAB and the NRC’. Rahul Gandhi was Congress president that time. The Congress has always opposed NRC and CAA,” said Mr Singh, who is also the son-in-law of Chief Minister N Biren Singh.

Mr Gandhi stepped down as Congress chief in July 2019 after taking responsibility for a second straight national election defeat. He won from Wayanad seat in Kerala, but lost his second seat in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi to BJP’s Smriti Irani. Until then, Mr Gandhi had been winning from Amethi since 2004.

In Manipur, where tensions have been high between the Kuki-Zo tribes and the Meiteis since clashes erupted in May 2023, the Meiteis and other major communities except the Kuki-Zo tribes have been demanding the NRC exercise to be carried out. The NRC exercise aims to identify illegal immigrants based on a cut-off year and deport them.

Assam was the first state to implement the NRC, and the process faced several challenges including 19 lakh people among three crore left out of the list. Many whose names did not appear in the list had filed appeals saying there has been a mistake. The process of analysing the appeals and taking decisions on them is going on.

The CAA, whose rules were notified on March 11 in line with the Centre’s promise on enforcing the rules before the national elections this year, will help minorities from three neighbouring Islamic nations fast-track their Indian citizenship process if they fled due to religious persecution.

The Meiteis, who are dominant in Manipur’s valley areas, want NRC to be implemented, while the Kuki-Zo tribes, who are dominant in the hill areas of southern Manipur and a few other districts, have alleged the Meiteis want to grab their lands by calling them illegal immigrants since the Kuki-Zo tribes share familial and ethnic ties with the Chin people in neighbouring Myanmar. Thousands of people from Myanmar’s Chin State and other regions of the junta-ruled nation have entered India after fleeing from the conflict between the junta forces and pro-democracy rebels.

Home Minister Amit Shah last year told parliament one of the factors behind the Manipur crisis was the huge influx of illegal immigrants.

Opium poppy farming, illegal immigrants, and ethnic tensions are among the biggest issues ahead of the Lok Sabha election in Manipur, to be held in two phases on April 19 and 26.

Inner Manipur’s Congress candidate is Dr Angomcha Bimol Akoijam, a professor in Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), and the BJP candidate is Thounaojam Basanta Kumar Singh, the state Education Minister.

Manipur has two Lok Sabha seats – Inner Manipur, and Outer Manipur. The entire Inner Manipur constituency and some areas under Outer Manipur will vote on April 19. The remaining areas under Outer Manipur will vote on April 26. Votes will be counted on June 4.



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