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A Congress delegation led by former Union minister and Rajya Sabha member Jairam Ramesh on Sunday began their visit to four Northeast states – Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura – to gather opinions of people and party leaders on National Register of Citizens (NRC), a party leader said in Agartala.

Senior Congress leader Gopal Roy said that the five-member All India Congress Committee (AICC) delegation arrived in Manipur capital Imphal on Sunday and they would go to Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura. “During their visit, the AICC delegation would gather opinion on NRC from the people, party leaders and concerned stakeholders. The AICC team after visiting the Northeast region would submit a report to the party President Sonia Gandhi,” Roy told the media in Agartala.

The other members of the AICC delegation include former Union minister Jitender Singh, Member of Parliament and AICC Secretary Manickam Tagore, senior lawyer Mohammad Ali Khan and AICC General Secretary and former Union minister Mukul Wasnik.

Another senior Congress leader, on condition of anonymity, told news agency IANS that different Congress leaders and different states expressed divergent views on NRC, forcing the Congress president to send a delegation to the Northeast to obtain feedback from the people.

The opposition to the NRC exercise by a section of Congress leaders had prompted the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party to claim that the grand old party was soft on illegal, mainly Bangladeshi, immigrants.

In Assam, the exercise was initiated by the previous Congress government under the then Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi in 2010 as a pilot project in Barpeta and Kamrup Rural districts.

The stalled NRC exercise was resumed in 2013 to identify the foreigners. The Supreme Court-monitored final list of NRC was published on August 31. Of Assam’s 33 million residents, who were asked to prove their Indian citizenship, names of about 1.9 million were excluded. These names will now be referred to 300 Foreigners’ Tribunals, constituted by the Assam government.

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