Mamata accuses Centre of doing 'vote politics' on Assam NRC (Lead)

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Kolkata : Slamming the Central government on Assam's draft NRC which left out over 40 lakh people, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday accused the Narendra Modi-led government of doing "vote politics".

Banerjee accused the Centre of deliberately trying to isolate a section of Indian citizens, and said she will seek an appointment with Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi and urge him to 'save' those who were excluded from the list.

The first complete draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), comprising the names of 2,89,83,677 people of Assam, was published on Monday, and 40,07,707 have been left out due to some discrepancies in their documents, according to officials.

"Forty lakh people including Hindus and Muslims were left out. All connections with Assam including the Internet, have been severed. Fifteen companies of central forces have been sent to Assam in addition to the force that is already there. We suspect it is an attempt to bulldoze people or to forcibly evict them," Banerjee told media persons at the state secretariat Nabanna.

The Trinamool Congress supremo claimed that excluding people from the NRC draft is an attempt at "political isolation" of a section of citizens by the Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP) government as many people have been excluded from the list on the basis of their last names.

"It is a game plan to evict humanity and human beings forcibly, and an attempt to isolate them in order to do vote politics. It is unfortunate that all connections have been severed. We are not able to contact the affected people," she alleged.

The Bengal Chief Minister apprehended that there would be problems in Bangladesh and West Bengal as it shares a border with Assam. She, however, said her state would not act like the Centre or the Assam government in trying to "push back" people forcibly.

"Bangali Khedao and Bihari Khedao (drive out the Bengalis and Biharis) is going on in Assam. This will be a big issue for Bangladesh. Because these people might be pushed back to Bangladesh, and if Bangladesh refuses to accept them, where will the 40 lakh people go?" she asked.

Citing some examples of people who were left out of the NRC list in Assam, Banerjee said many Bengalis and people of Bangladeshi-origin have been left out in spite of having Aadhaar cards, passports and other identification documents.

"They (left out people) were made refugees by the Assam and central government. Many people submitted all the documents. Yet, they were not considered, just excluded. Some of them are staying for more than 50 years," she said.

Banerjee said she would meet Rajnath Singh over the issue and also send a team of representatives from Bengal to Assam.

"I want to appeal to the Home Minister to save them. Do not isolate them like this. They are also human beings. If needed, Parliament can amend the law to save these people. Parliamentary session is on. We will also send a team to Assam," she said.

Terming the draft NRC as "terrible", Banerjee said "people were helpless... they are not Rohingyas" and they are "very much Indian citizens".