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BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari challenges Mamata Banerjee

Suvendu Adhikari, the leader of the opposition in the West Bengal Assembly, has claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) will be implemented in the state, and challenged Prime Minister Mamata Banerjee to stop its rollout.

Speaking at a rally in Thakurnagar, an area dominated by the Matuas whose roots are in Bangladesh, Adhikari said the CAA is not suggesting that anyone’s citizenship be taken away if someone is a bona fide resident with legal documents.

“We have spoken about the CAA several times. It will be rolled out across the state. If you’ve got guts, make sure it’s not forced,” the Nandigram MLA said in a clear reference to the prime minister.

The CAA facilitates the granting of citizenship to migrants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

But since the rules under the law have not yet been set by the government, no one could get citizenship until now.

“Members of the Matua community will also be granted citizenship,” Adhikari said at Saturday’s public meeting.

The Matuas, a politically important community, are split into the BJP and Trinamool camps. With an estimated 30 lakh Matuas in the state, the community has influence over at least five Lok Sabha seats and nearly 50 assembly seats in Nadia, North and South 24 Parganas districts.

Union Minister and Bongaon BJP MP Shantanu Thakur also said that the CAA “will be a reality in West Bengal, and Narendra Modi’s government is committed to realizing the goal”.

Meanwhile, Trinamool leader and senior West Bengal minister Firhad Hakim said the BJP is “playing” with the CAA map ahead of the 2023 panchayat polls and the 2024 Lok Sabha elections for “the purpose of vote bank politics”.

“But we will never let that happen,” Hakim said.

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