Karnataka elections: NRC makes entry into BJP manifesto for state poll like UCC
New Delhi: For the first time since the Assam assembly polls in 2021, the issue of National Register of Citizens (NRC) has made a return to the BJP election manifesto for any state as the party on Monday promised to implement it in Karnataka to ensure deportation of “all illegal immigrants” if voted to power.
Like several other recent assembly polls, the BJP also continued with its strategy of making the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) as part of its state-specific manifesto by promising to execute the policy, a part of its foundational nationwide agenda, in Karnataka based on the recommendations of a high-level committee to be set up if it retains power there.
The party had so far, though, refrained from touching on the NRC in its state poll manifestoes except in Assam, where the issue of illegal immigrants has long been a concern, especially among indigenous communities.
The BJP in its manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections had pledged its support to the NRC as well as the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which was passed by Parliament in 2019 but has not been rolled out in the absence of rules.
The government had asserted in December 2019 that it had no plans for a countrywide NRC amid protests against the measure and also the CAA, and had blamed the opposition for spreading “lies” over the issues. Several Muslim groups and opposition parties had termed the CAA and NRC discriminatory on the religious ground.
Political watchers believe that the BJP has amped up its Hindutva agenda in Karnataka by introducing the NRC, an issue close to the heart of its core supporters, as it pulls out all the stops to beat off the challenge from the opposition Congress in a state which has often voted out the incumbent government.
“We will introduce the National Register of Citizens in Karnataka and ensure speedy deportation of all illegal immigrants in the state,” the BJP manifesto released on Monday stated.