Home minister Amit Shah, in an exclusive interview with Rahul Joshi, group editor-in-chief, Network18, said National Register for Citizens (NRC) will be an issue in the next West Bengal elections in 2021.
Shah said, "My prediction says BJP will form the government in Bengal with a two-thirds majority."
In the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, the BJP garnered nearly 40 percent voteshare in West Bengal and bagged 18 out of the 42 seats.
Earlier in October, Amit Shah said the government will pass Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in the Rajya Sabha first and then implement NRC in West Bengal.
On West Bengal's chief minister Mamta Banerjee, Shah had said, "Didi is saying she will not allow NRC but we will weed out all illegal infiltrators from India through this register."
NRC is currently made specifically for the eastern state of Assam but the ruling BJP, led by prime minister Narendra Modi, has made it clear that the citizen registry will be extended to other states as well.
Another BJP-ruled state, Haryana, has already pitched for an NRC list in this state. Haryana, too, goes to polls next week along with Maharashtra.
Incidentally, India's largest 'detention camp' to house people left out of the NRC list in Assam is being built in Maharashtra.
Shah said, "The process (of detention camps) will be managed by the tribunals. Government, on the other hand, will start preparation side-by-side. There is a legal process where tribunals are concerned. The process has just started."
Assam's NRC list was issued on August 31, 2019, with nearly 2 million people failing to prove legal Indian citizenship.
On excluding Muslims from his speech on the NRC earlier this month, Shah told News18,"I did not call them (Muslims) intruders. I said, it is not possible for them to be religiously exploited. During the partition, there were 30 percent Hindus in Pakistan. Now six percent are left. Where did they go?"
Read other stories from the interview here.
First Published: IST