With the Assam win still fresh, the state BJP has upped the ante on the issue of Bangladeshi immigrants in Jharkhand’s Santhal Pargana division, which shares border with West Bengal.
The state BJP’s two-day executive committee meeting in Dumka ended Monday with a resolution demanding that the state government form a commission or task force that would work in tandem with the Centre to check the growing proportion of alleged Bangladeshi immigrants in districts like Sahibganj, Pakur and parts of Godda.
Influx of alleged Bangladeshi immigrants was a major poll issue for the BJP in Assam and was believed to be one of the major reasons for its win there.
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“The influx of Bangladeshi immigrants is a threat to national security and is disturbing the population balance. Vote bank politics and pseudo-secularism, practised by the Congress and some parties having Jharkhand prefix to their names, only give rise to communalism. The executive committee demands that to stop Bangladeshi immigrants, this government may constitute a commission or a special task force with the help of the Centre,” read the resolution.
State unit general secretary Ashok Kumar said: “Pakur, Sahibganj and parts of Godda are facing this problem. We have been demanding action for years. But, obviously, we could not expect anything from governments led or supported by Congress, which plays appeasement politics. Now we have our government at the Centre and state. When Assam can begin working on the issue, we can expect the same.”
BJP state vice-president Deepak Prakash said: “Our estimates put the number of such illegal immigrants at over 6 lakh. There are a couple of lakhs who are yet to be identified. They come here illegally and gradually get all residential documents. This is creating a law and order problem.”
The demand is also part of the BJP’s strategy to consolidate its presence in Santhal Pargana. Till recently, the region was a Jharkhand Mukti Morcha stronghold. Congress too had a base there. Currently, out of the 18 Assembly seats in Santhal Pargana, BJP has seven and out of three Lok Sabha seats, it has one. JMM lost its hold in the area in the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls of 2014 and Congress made few gains.