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Bengalis will not be left out of CAA implementation process, BJP’s Suvendu . claims

Opposition leader in West Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari of the BJP claimed on Tuesday that the process of CAA implementation in the country has begun and that West Bengal will not stay out of it.

His comment comes a day after the Center decided to grant Indian citizenship to minorities, mainly from Pakistan, who have migrated to India and currently reside in two districts of Gujarat, under the Citizenship Act, 1955, and not the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA).

According to a notification from the Union Ministry of Interior, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians living in Anand and Mehsana districts in Gujarat will register as citizens of India.

In response to a question about the Centre’s notification, Adhikari said, “The CAA has already been rolled out in two districts of Gujarat through the notification giving citizenship to certain minority groups who came from neighboring countries such as Pakistan”.

“Bengal cannot be left out of the CAA implementation process. The members of the Matua community and other backward castes such as namasudras will soon receive certain benefits. The CAA will also be rolled out in our state,” said the Nandigram MLA.

However, BJP MLA Ashim Sarkar sang a different tune and wondered what the need was for the citizenship law in 2019 if citizenship was granted under the law of 1955.

“It’s good that refugees in two districts of Gujarat are getting citizenship under the law of 1955. But my question is, what was the need to pass a new law in 2019? I think there needs to be clarity about when CAA will be implemented in the country,” Sarkar said.

Narendra Modi’s government wants to grant Indian citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan – Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians – who had come to India until December 31, 2014.

The CAA was passed by parliament in 2019, but the law has yet to be implemented as the rules under it have not yet been drawn up.

A few months ago, Sarkar, a BJP lawmaker from the Matua community-dominated Haringhata constituency, had expressed confidence that the CAA would be implemented ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, but also warned that the delay in implementation of the law would harm the party grassroots among the refugees.

Minister of State for Shipping, Santanu Thakur, said: “I can only say that if the CAA is implemented, it will be of great help to members of backward castes, including the Matua community.” Notably, Thakur, the Bangaon Lok Sabha MP, belongs to the Matua community.

About 30 lakh Matuas live in West Bengal, and the community can influence the results of at least five Lok Sabha seats and nearly 50 constituencies in Nadia, North and South 24 Parganas districts.

Kunal Ghosh, spokesman for the Trinamool Congress, said the ruling party in West Bengal will never allow the CAA to take effect in the state.

“The BJP will not be able to roll out the CAA in the country. Suvendu Adhikari is making strong claims ahead of the 2023 Panchayat polls as part of their effort to polarize society,” he claimed.

Both Congress and the CPI(M) also endorsed the TMC’s position on the matter.

“We will not allow the CAA to be implemented in the country. The BJP cannot impose such a decision without some consensus. None of the secular parties in the country will allow this,” said Sujan Chakraborty, member of CPI(M’s central committee).

West Bengal Pradesh Congress President and Berhampur MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury also said the BJP is “making empty noises about the CAA implementation”.

“Congress stands for integration and harmony, not for dividing society along religious lines,” he added.

The pledge of implementation of the controversial CAA had been a major poll of the BJP in the latest Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. Saffron Party leaders consider it a plausible factor that led to the rise of the BJP in Bengal.

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