The bitter face-off between the Trinamul Congress (TMC) and the BJP continued to play out within and outside Parliament on Thursday over the controversial exclusion of more than 4 million residents of Assam from the state’s draft National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Trinamul members on Thursday again forced an early adjournment of the Rajya Sabha while protesting on the draft NRC issue, seeking an immediate response from Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
The Trinamul is also reportedly planning to move a privilege motion in the Lok Sabha on Friday against the “unlawful” detention of the members of its delegation ~ comprising six MPs and two West Bengal MLAs including a minister ~ by police personnel at the Silchar airport in Assam on Thursday when they landed there in order to reach out to the people left out of the draft NRC.
The Trinamul has been up in arms against the exclusion of 4,00,7007 people from the draft NRC, alleging that it betrayed the BJP’s “divideand- rule agenda” in the country.
The Trinamul chairperson and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has alleged that the NRC exercise was being carried out by the BJP ~ which rules both the Centre and Assam ~ with a “political motive” to “divide and isolate people” which, she warned, would lead to “bloodbath and civil war” in the country.
In the Upper House this afternoon, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu told Tr inamul leader Derek O’Brien that the Home Minister had come to the House on three days but was not allowed to speak.
The Trinamul members in the Well of the House had on Wednesday wanted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come and respond on the NRC issue.
Naidu said he had rejected O’Brien’s notice under Rule 267 for suspension of listed business, adding he would have to have a word with the Home Minister as to when he could be available.
The Trinamul party members, however, moved into the Well of the House, forcing the Chairman to adjourn the proceedings for the day.
Earlier, just as the Rajya Sabha assembled after lunch, several members from Assam and Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad urged the Chairman to allow members from Assam to speak on the issue.
The Chairman agreed to the suggestion, even though it amounted to re-opening the issue closed on Wednesday.
Azad said members from Assam from all parties wanted to speak, and they were under pressure from people in the state.
NCP leader Sharad Pawar said since the issue was sensitive, the Chairman could allow the members to speak in the larger interest.
The government also conceded the Opposition’s demand, even as Azad and Pawar also pressed for the Home Minister’s reply.
Meanwhile, the matter of detention of Trinamul legislators at the Silchar airport was raised in the Lok Sabha by senior party MP Saugata Roy, who questioned how could the Assam government stop lawmakers from entering the state.
Speaking to reporters outside Parliament, Trinamul leaders including O’Brien charged that their colleagues were “ilegally detained” and even “manhandled” at the Silchar airport by the police personnel, accusing the ruling BJP of using its Assam administration for “political vendetta”.
Bengal CM Banerjee has accused the BJP dispensation of resorting to “vote-bank politics” on the NRC issue, questioning how could “Indian citizens become refugees” in their own lands.