Guwahati: BJP national working President J.P. Nadda on Saturday slammed Congress leaders for their opposition to Citizenship (Amendment) Act, saying they were "ignorant" of the legislation and were driven by "politics" and not "nationalism" in their protest against the new law.
He also threw an open challenge to former Congress President Rahul Gandhi to speak just "ten lines" on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
Days after Gandhi addressed a rally here and said that right wing outfits BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) won't be allowed to "attack Assam's history, culture and language", Nadda gave a riposte.
"I am from the hills. I know what culture, heritage and language are. I understand the sentiments associated with language and culture. It is our responsibility to protect the culture and heritage of Assam and we will do it," Nadda said.
Describing Congress leaders as "totally ignorant", Nadda ridiculed them for saying that the authorities would seek passport and Aadhaar card in connection with CAA.
"What are you referring to? This is a bill to give citizenship, not to take it away. You are not driven by patriotism, you are driven by politics.
"You don't see the nation, you only see the vote bank. For you, vote comes before the nation. For us, the nation always gets priority over vote. Why do you see everything from the point of view of vote," Nadda asked while addressing BJP's booth level functionaries -- the first major party rally in the state capital after protests broke out against the CAA.
Nadda urged the people of Assam not to believe the opposition parties' propaganda that the state would be swamped by a fresh influx of people from the neighbouring nations.
"CAA will be applicable only to those persons who have come to India on or before December 31, 2014. So there is no question of any fresh influx of people," he said.
Nadda assured the people that the government will ensure that Clause 6 of Assam Accord, which was signed in 1985, is protected in letter and spirit.
Clause 6 pledges to provide constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards "to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people".
Challenging Congress leaders to visit the refugee camps in Guwahati, Nadda said that people lodged there were unable to get admission to schools or join skill development courses.
"Still, these people are living here. And now they (Congress) are saying crores of people will come. No, they won't come. They are already living here. They came during your rule," he said.