New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi sounded the poll bugle in the North-East on Friday by assuring the people of Assam that no genuine Indian citizen would be excluded from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) or deported.

With less than three months to go for the general election, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is reiterating its promise to protect the rights and interests of ethnic Assamese.

Thousands of ethnic Assamese have found their names missing from the final draft National Register of Citizens, the outcome of a Supreme Court-monitored procedure.

Modi said he hoped that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will soon get Parliament’s approval.

“I am aware of the problems and the difficulties faced by many during the NRC process, but I assure you that no injustice will be done to any genuine Indian citizen," he said at the Vijay Sankalp Samavesh Rally at Silchar in Assam.

The BJP’s alliance partner in Assam, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), on Wednesday threatened to walk out, should the Parliament pass the bill, which seeks to provide citizenship to migrants from neighbouring countries.

The prime minister remained resolute on the legislation seeing the light of day, despite the Asom Gana Parishad continuing to agitate over the bill and opposing its passage in the winter session of Parliament.

The bill is an anomaly for Assam, given that the National Register of Citizens process seeks to identify and deport illegal Bangladeshi migrants from the northeastern state.

“The government is also moving ahead with the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. It is linked with the emotions and related to the people’s lives. It is not for the benefit of anyone but a penance against the injustice and many wrongs done in the past. I hope that the bill will be passed soon in Parliament," the prime minister said.

The Union cabinet on Wednesday said that it would form a high-level committee for safeguarding the interests of ethnic Assamese.

The announcement by Union home minister Rajnath Singh came in the wake of the 31 December closure of claims and objections for the National Register of Citizens ahead of the publication of the final list later this year.

Assam had released the final draft of the National Register of Citizens on 30 July last year, with 28.9 million making it to the list out of a total of 32.9 million applicants, thus leaving out around 4 million people.

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