BJP’s volte face in Bengal, says NRC matter of future

The party which has been staunchly advocating NRC, has now made a virtual u-turn, indicating that NRC may not be implemented in Bengal anytime soon.

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The panic that gripped West Bengal BJP in wake of the party’s humiliating defeat in bypolls, including loss of the state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh’s seat, has only intensified in wake of anti-CAA-NRC protests that have spread like wildfire in the region. While earlier WB BJP leaders pushed the party’s pro-NRC agenda, now, some fissures appear to be developing at state level.

While the party at the centre itself has been changing its narrative on nation-wide NRC with Amit Shah announcing it in winter sessions and subsequently denying the party’s decision on the same, state party leaders appear to be in a rush to salvage the situation.

BJP’S state President, Dilip Ghosh, has indicated that the party will not pursue NRC in Bengal by saying that NRC is “matter of the future”. A year ago, his stance was a lot different. Ghosh had told The Hindu last year that the NRC is inevitable in Bengal and the party has publicly advocated for it. The by-polls have however hit the party where it hurts the most and the party candidates have admitted that their defeat in the by polls was a result of the NRC fear amongst the people. Hence, this change in stance, although startling, is what the party needs to do to salvage the situation.

When asked about its implementation, Mr. Ghosh said, “When would it take place and what would happen is a matter of future.” The Hindu reported that Ghosh, who is also a senior RSS leader now says, “If there is a need for countrywide NRC, the Central government will think about it.” This change in stance is also owing to the significant u-turn taken by Union Home Minister, Amit Shah. In a recent interview, he said that “there is no discussion” about a pan-India NRC.

The BJP has been losing its stronghold at state level elections, considering its recent defeat in the Jharkhand state elections. The Party has clearly been backtracking from its stand on nation-wide NRC looking at the sentiment amongst the voters and the need to introspect on state level politics is something the party seems to focusing on.

Chandrakumar Bose, grand-nephew of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and a senior leader of the party in Bengal had recently tweeted questioning why Muslims have been excluded from purview of CAA, showing signs of fissures within the party.

But is this an attempt to remain relevant amidst political turbulence or yet another elaborate smokescreen to give the impression that the party was open to reconsidering its decision? After all, the logistics are being put in place for the NPR, and two new detention camps have already been commissioned in West Bengal. Is this mere posturing in a bid to appear publicly thoughtful about a decision that has already been made?

Meanwhile, the state CM, Mamata Banerjee’s stand against NPR-NRC-CAA has only been growing stronger by the day as she has begun official state-wide protests.




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