Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Tuesday said he would be the “first person” not to sign on the NRC if the central government implements it.
“We have a big challenge in front of us with the BJP at the centre. Their policies are only to mislead people, to instigate people, to set fire, to cut and divide. It is a big challenge for the country. Today the country is burning. In different states there are fires burning, there is violence. There is misbehaviour with students, there is assault on them. There is murder, arson. They are creating an environment of fear in the country. Their only objective is to stay in power,” said Baghel, speaking at the Congress headquarters here on an occasion marking one year of the Congress being in power in the state.
“First they cut your pockets. They did notebandi and got your money in the banks, and Vijay Mallya and who knows who else ran away with it. Then they implemented the GST. One nation one tax. But what happened? In notebandi people even died. In GST, businesses went bust. The wheels of industry stopped.”
Baghel said that while the BJP came to power riding on the “surgical strike”, they are yet to tell the country how the Pulwama attack came to pass and “how RDX reached the spot”.
“Now they have brought the new citizenship law. All of Assam is burning. Its effects are being felt in West Bengal, in Assam, in Uttar Pradesh. It’s spreading like fire. And (Home Minister) Amit Shah says this is the beginning and they will implement NRC. When they do this, what will happen if you sign the register? They will certify if you are Indian. If someone doesn’t have land, or someone is old, or isn’t literate, how will they prove they are Indian? And if they can’t prove, where will they send (them)?” Baghel said.
“There are lots of people who leave their villages. Somebody from Bastar goes to Surguja. A person from Surguja has come to Raipur. A Raipur person has gone to Korba. How do they prove they have lived here for a hundred years? They have no land and aren’t literate. A person from here is in Assam, is in Nagpur, is in Delhi. How does he prove he lives here?”
The CM added, “Today I want to say from this stage on the 150th anniversary of Gandhiji that during the time of the Britishers, Gandhiji refused to sign the register and recorded his protest. I want to say from this stage that if they implement NRC, I will be the first person not to sign the register. Why should I prove I am Indian? The whole country has these headlines, and protests. I will not sign the register. This is Gandhiji’s way that he started in South Africa. Tab angrez shuru kar rahe the. Ab ye kale angrez shuruat karat hai (The Britishers had then started it. Now the dark-skinned Britishers are starting it).”
Baghel said the Congress and the people have to “fight together”, and that the BJP while marginalising minorities, Dalits and tribals have done nothing for Hindus either. “To divert attention from core issues of the country, these people bring notebandi, GST, new citizenship law. They can’t even give us the money they owe us for GST. They owe us Rs 900 crore and they can’t give it to us. All their policies failed. All they do is divide,” he said.
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