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Congress attacks BJP over northeast 'immigrants', BJP withdraws word

Congress BJPNew Delhi, Feb 3,2015 (Agency)

Under attack from the Congress, an embarrassed BJP Tuesday rushed to correct its "mistake" of terming the northeast people as "immigrants" in its Vision Document, saying "the brothers and sisters of the northeast are the pride of Delhi".


The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) move came after the Congress asked if the BJP considered people from the northeast like foreigners.


Congress campaign chief Ajay Maken, while releasing the party manifesto, asked: "Does the BJP want to say that the northeast is not part of the country?"


Maken said that at a time when External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was visiting China, which lays claim to Arunachal Pradesh, was it proper for the BJP to come out with a vision document terming the northeast people "immigrants".


He asked the BJP to rectify the error and apologise to the country.


"We will not tolerate that the BJP does this (refer to the northeast people as immigrants)," he said.


BJP spokesperson M.J. Akbar later said the party was withdrawing the word "immigrant" and that it was "mistakenly used".


"The brothers and sisters of the northeast are the pride of Delhi. The word was mistakenly used. We withdraw the word, and we repeat that their (northeast people's) welfare is as important as that of any citizen of Delhi and the country," he said.


BJP leader and Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, who is from Arunachal Pradesh, said the word was a "typo" and a "clerical error".


The BJP's Vision Document for the Delhi election has a statement that says "North eastern immigrants to be protected".


The reference to people from the northeast comes as there have been many incidents of attacks on people from the region in Delhi.


But besides the word "immigrants", the Vision Document has several other similar "clerical errors".


The document says it is a "comprehensive document covering all aspects, authored by a very experienced senior Delhi BJP team".


While it contains a list of 37 assurances, a close look shows a botched numbering process.


After it reaches no.22 in the list, the numbering goes awry, and again begins from no.16 and goes on to no.37. In effect, it is a list of 44 assurances, but the party says "over 35".


When the second time no.20 is listed, it vaguely says "Miscellaneous".


The BJP also does not refer to statehood for Delhi, which party leaders had assured in their speeches if the BJP is voted to power in the Feb 7 Delhi elections.

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