Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah on Monday set a 2024 deadline for implementing the hugely divisive National Register of Citizens across the country, asserting 'each and every' infiltrator will be identified and expelled before the next general election.
Notwithstanding the admission by some BJP leaders in West Bengal that apprehensions over the NRC had cost the party dearly in the recent bypolls there, the Union home minister told poll rallies in neighbouring Jharkhand that the nationwide exercise will be conducted despite reservations voiced by opposition parties.
"Today, I want to tell you that before the 2024 polls the NRC will be conducted across the country and each and every infiltrator identified and expelled.
"Rahul baba (Congress leader Rahul Gandhi) says don't expel them. Where will they go, what will they eat? But I assure you that before the country goes to polls in 2024 all illegal immigrants will be thrown out," he told election rallies in Chakradharpur and Baharagora.
Shah said national issues like uprooting terrorism, Naxalism and construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya were as important in the Jharkhand elections as local matters like development.
Raking up the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri mosque dispute once again, the BJP president alleged the Congress made attempts to thwart the hearing of the case in the Supreme Court.
"Congress leaders would tell the Supreme Court that there is no need for hearing the Ram Janmabhoomi case. With your (people's) backing, we submitted that it be taken forward, and the result is that the apex court has ruled that only a Ram temple will be built in Ayodhya," he said.
He also attacked the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-Congress-Rashtriya Janata Dal alliance, which is crossing swords with the BJP for electoral laurel in Jharkhand.
The BJP leader also gave credit to the state government for 'uprooting' the Naxalite menace and for bringing in development.
"When Congress was in power, it fired upon students agitating for Jharkhand state and attacked them with batons. Now Hemant Soren (JMM leader) is sitting in the laps of the same Congress so he can become the chief minister," he said.
Referring to the 'Vikas ki Ganga' flowing in Jharkhand because of the 'double engine' growth the Centre and the state governments had ushered in together, Shah said the Modi government built AIIMS in Deoghar, and it will now construct an airport there and also in Bokaro, Dumka and Jamshedpur.
About 20 lakh farmers have benefited from the crop insurance scheme, he said.
Within five years, the Narendra Modi government and Raghubar Das dispensation uprooted naxalism and paved the way for the state's development, he said.
He said Raghubar Das provided a 'zero corruption' government and gave the state political stability. The Das government is the first in Jharkhand's history that will complete its full term in office.
"Rahul Gandhi is in Jharkhand today. I challenge him to give an account of what Congress governments have done for Jharkhand during 55 years of their rule. We will also give an account of what we have done in five years," he said.
Targeting the opposition alliance, the BJP chief said, "Parties that sell poll tickets, exploit adivasis, had opposed creation of Jharkhand and indulged in corruption involving millions and billions of rupees cannot take the state forward."