Former Assam CM slams Centre, Sonowal on NRC

GUWAHATI: Former Assam chief minister and veteran Congress leader, Tarun Gogoi took potshots at the BJP-led governments at the Centre and state for “reducing the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to a waste paper” after taking credit for the six-year-old exercise earlier.

Speaking to reporters here on Monday, Gogoi further pulled up the Centre for its proposal to come out with a pan-India NRC, pointing out that if the government could not prepare an error-free NRC for three crore people of Assam, how can it boast of a plan to prepare a citizen’s register for a population of 130 crore in India.

“Of the 19 lakh people excluded from the final NRC, I would say about 16 lakh are Indian citizens with names in the voters list and valid documents at their disposal. The purpose of the NRC is to detect and deport foreigners and not make Indian citizens foreigners. In this regard, the current dispensation in the state has been a complete failure,” the senior Congress leader said.

Gogoi further recalled of being pulled up (when he was chief minister) for being tardy on completing the NRC update process. “But look at what the current dispensation led by Sarbananda Sonowal is doing now,” he said, referring to the proposal for a fresh NRC despite completion of a six-year-old update exercise involving an expenditure of Rs 1600 crore.

The former chief minister, while referring to the anti-Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), also took a dig at the Asom Gana Parishad for “aligning” with their senior allies in the government on the contentious legislation.

“I have never seen such as weak, selfish and power hungry party,” Gogoi said.

He however said that it was encouraging to see university students coming out in the streets to raise their voices against CAB. “This is a good sign,” he added.

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