‘Congress stance on NRC affects India’s sovereignty’

Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday accused Congress president Rahul Gandhi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of playing with India’s sovereignty on the Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) issue because of concerns over “imported vote banks”.

In a Facebook post, Mr. Jaitley, convalescing following a kidney operation, said that Mr. Gandhi was taking a “fringe position” with regard to the NRC, contrary to what was advocated by former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.

The principal duty of any government, the Minister said, is to defend its borders and make life safe and secure for citizens.

“It [Congress] is now compromising the sovereignty of India. Leaders like Rahul Gandhi and Mamata Banerjee must realise that India’s sovereignty is not a play thing. Sovereignty and citizenship are the soul of India. Imported vote banks are not,” he said.

‘Mr. Jaitley also accused Ms. Banerjee of changing her position on the issue of Bangladeshi infiltration.

“Though Mrs. Indira Gandhi and Mr. Rajiv Gandhi took a particular position in 1972 and 1985 for the deletion and deportation of foreigners, Rahul Gandhi takes a contrarian position and his party turns turtle. Similarly, the BJP ally of 2005, Ms. Mamata Banerjee, took a particular position. As a federal front leader, she now talks to the contrary. Can India’s sovereignty be decided by such fickle minds and fragile hands?” he asked.

‘Not human rights issue’

“A desperate argument has been given that this is a human rights cause. A refugee on account of persecution may have a humanitarian consideration. Illegal migration does not have it,” he added. Mr. Jaitley further said that some pre-1971 migrants may have moved for reasons of persecution, but the same was not true of all post-1971 migrants who had illegally entered India.

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