GUWAHATI: As Assam gets ready for the assembly surveys, the ruling BJP is harping on a three-pronged strategy to maintain its Eastern bastion—- developing a divide among the Muslims by asking only those from Assam to elect them while disowning Muslims from Bangladesh; leveraging the political dividends from PM Modi-Shah and Nirmala Sitharaman’s sees to the state; and insisting on redoing the NRC lists, if massive anomalies are discovered in the re-verification exercise.The party is making its presence felt in key pockets like the latest visit prepared by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 6 to the tea estates of Assam. Over 8 lakh tea employees will be provided Rs 3000 each through direct advantage transfer (they had gotten Rs 5,000 earlier in two instalments)—- wooing the tea tribes, an important assistance base for the BJP in Assam, who are an identifying consider a minimum of 30 assembly seats. The tea belts of Brahmaputra and Barak valley has more than 60 lakh people.Similarly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will go to Dhekiajuli on February 7 to lay the structure of 2 medical colleges and inaugurate roadways jobs under Assam Mala. The location is a tea producing area along the north bank of Brahmaputra.While the BJP had, in 2016, campaigned saying the election was the last fight of Saraighat, referring to the 1671 battle in which the Ahom army in Assam had defeated the Mughals, its focus this time is on playing the indigenous card.The BJP has actually been clearly specifying that it does not need the votes of the Bengali-speaking Miya Muslims alleging them to be common and whose culture remains in variance to the Assamese culture.The natural effect is that this faction is likely to gravitate to the Congress and All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), which are jointly combating this year’s assembly polls. They have in the past supported Congress and AIUDF.Muslims in Assam have different departments based upon their social and linguistic backgrounds—- those who are descendants of Bengali-speaking Muslims are called ‘miyas’. BJP’s stance can be important as Muslims comprise 34% of the 3.12 crore population of Assam, of which 4% are indigenous Assamese Muslims and the staying primarily Bengali-speaking Muslims. Muslim votes are a determining consider a minimum of 30-35 assembly seats.Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has been extremely vocal about his stand versus the Miya Muslims. He claimed that the BJP would not provide celebration tickets to the Miya Muslims of Assam and even asked the Congress not to offer tickets to them.Sarma stated, “In Assam, Muslims are divided into 2 streams, one who are indigenous and the other who have come from Bangladesh at different points of time. They have actually started to identify themselves as Miyas. They are really communal and really fundamentalist. They have actually begun to identify themselves with numerous activities to distort the Assamese culture and language. Ethically, I can not stand in the assembly if they chose us. If you identify yourself as Miya Muslims do not vote for us, if you recognize yourself as Assamese Muslims, please elect us.”The indigenous Muslim communities consist of Gorias, Morias, Deshis and Jolahs.”We will provide party tickets for Muslims, but not provide tickets to those who recognize themselves as Miya Muslim in the context of Assam. In Assam, the word Miya has actually been used to challenge our identity, our culture by a particular micro section of muslims. We are not going to provide tickets. With folded hand, I request them not to elect us even by error. However those muslims who recognize India and Assam as our mother land, they will elect us. I am likewise requesting the Congress not to permit the Miyas to thrive”. AICC basic secretary in-charge of Assam Jitendra Singh countered this saying, “Assam’s identity, culture and language is under danger under BJP’s rule. The BJP just wants to divide individuals.”The final NRC list has been an aching point for the BJP. While the Congress and AIUDF are pleased with the outcome of the NRC released in 2019, BJP is not. The last NRC list, released on August 31, 2019, had actually found more than 31.1 million people eligible to be consisted of in the registry while leaving out over 1.9 million people.The Assam federal government and the Centre had sought a 20% sample reverification of names in the draft NRC in the districts surrounding Bangladesh and a 10% sample reverification of names in the staying districts. However, the Supreme Court, which is keeping track of the NRC procedure, did not allow the plea.Sarma said, “We will have to renovate the NRC if abnormalities are found after re-verification.””When Union House minister Amit Shah stated that only the BJP can protect Assam from seepage, he implied a proper NRC, border management and deportation of foreigners and in the next five years Assam will be infiltration-free,” he claimed.Assam guv Jagdish Mukhi has actually given his assent to ‘The Assam Repealing Act 2020’ which converts all government-run madrasas into upper main, high school and higher secondary schools. The AIUDF had stated that if voted to power, they would reopen all the closed madrasas.
BJP’s Assam strategy: Disregard Miya Muslims, re doing NRC lists and
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