Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari has asserted that the Citizenship Amendment Act will be implemented in the state, and dared Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to stop its roll-out.
During a meeting in North 24 Parganas District’s Thakurnagar, an area dominated by the Matuas whose roots are in Bangladesh, Adhikari said the CAA does not suggest that citizenship of anyone will be taken away if one is a bonafide resident with legal documents.
”We have discussed about the CAA several times. It will be rolled out in the state. If you have guts, stop it from being enforced,” the Nandigram MLA said in an apparent reference to the chief minister.
The CAA facilitates the grant of citizenship to migrants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
But, as the rules under the act have not been framed by the government yet, no one so far could be granted citizenship under it.
”Matua community members will also be given citizenship,” Adhikari said at the public meeting on Saturday.
A politically significant community, the Matuas are split into the BJP and TMC camps. With an estimated 30-lakh Matuas in the state, the community has influence in at least five Lok Sabha seats and nearly 50 assembly seats in Nadia, North and South 24 Parganas districts.
Union Minister and BJP MP from Bongaon Shantanu Thakur also said the CAA will be ”a reality in West Bengal, and the Narendra Modi government is committed to realising the goal”.
Meanwhile, TMC leader and senior West Bengal minister Firhad Hakim said the BJP is “playing” with the CAA card before the 2023 panchayat polls and the 2024 Lok Sabha elections with ”an eye on vote-bank politics”.
”But, we will never allow that to happen,” Hakim said.