Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, on Sunday lashed out at the Narendra Modi government over proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens, calling the prime minister and Union Home Minister Amit Shah “migrants from Gujarat”, ANI reported.

“I can say that Narendra Modi and Amit Shah ji are themselves migrants,” he said. “Their homes are in Gujarat but they have come to Delhi. Whether they are legal or illegal migrants, it will be known later.”

He accused the saffron party of promoting religious discrimination in Assam by publishing the citizens’ database. “India is for everyone – for Hindus, Muslims and for everyone else,” Chowdhury said. “They are creating fear that they will throw out Muslims. They do not have the capability to do that. But what they want to show is Hindus will be allowed to stay, while Muslims will be sent away.”

He asked why a Muslim citizen of India should leave the country. “Is this country anybody’s jagir [property]?” asked the Congress leader. “This country is for everyone, where everyone has equal rights.”

Chowdhury, a five-term MP from West Bengal, said poor people would bear the brunt of NRC as they are not well-read and do not possess the necessary paperwork. “Due to this NRC rhetoric, the real citizens of the country are worried about their fate in the country,” he added. “People are not sitting carrying their [identity] papers. The poor, tribals, and people from backward areas who are concerned about managing two meals a day, do not have the time to think about this. It is these people who are scared.”

The Congress leader criticised the Citizenship Amendment Bill, and asked Shah to learn about migrants who are living abroad and contributing to India’s economy. “In the entire world, the maximum number of migrants are from India,” he added. “All the Indians living and working abroad send crores of rupees back to India. But no other country thinks about the issue other than Modi ji and Amit Shah.”

He warned the home minister about the consequences of passing the Bill. “If the BJP thinks it can improve India by clearing the Citizenship Bill, then it is nothing more than wishful thinking,” Chowdhury said.

The Congress leader blamed the proposed law for the saffron party’s defeat in three Assembly bye-polls in West Bengal. The ruling Trinamool Congress won the elections in Kaliaganj, Kharagpur Sadar and Karimpur Assembly constituencies on Thursday. “If they continue with it, they will be swept from the rest of India too,” Chowdhury added.

Also read: Why Amit Shah’s promise to extend a pan-India NRC to Assam will not be easy

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