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BJP: Only CAA, no NRC, if voted to power in West Bengal

  • Published at 10:03 pm April 4th, 2021
India CAA Protest Tamil Nadu Muslim March
File photo: A demonstrator holds a placard during a protest organized by various Muslim organizations and opposition parties against India's new citizenship law, in Chennai on February 19, 2020 AFP

This comes in counter to the opposition's claims that if voted to power in West Bengal

India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya yesterday said that the saffron party does not have any plan to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in West Bengal.

This comes in counter to the opposition's claims that if voted to power in West Bengal, BJP will update the NRC, thereby "taking away the citizenship rights of people," reports Indian Express.

The NRC is a register of all Indian citizens whose creation is mandated by the 2003 amendment of the Citizenship Act, 1955. Its purpose is to document all the legal citizens of India so that “the illegal immigrants can be identified and deported.”

Vijayvargiya, however, stated that BJP intends to implement the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and provide citizenship rights to refugees who moved into India after facing religious persecution in neighbouring countries.

"We are only looking forward to implementing the CAA after the elections, as promised in the manifesto. It is an important issue for us, as we strive to grant citizenship to the persecuted refugees. We do not have any plan of conducting the NRC exercise, even if we win the elections," he said.

According to state BJP sources, the new citizenship law will benefit more than 15 million people in India, including over 7 million in West Bengal.

Accusing the Trinamool Congress (TMC) of "running a disinformation campaign” against the saffron camp, the 64-year-old leader wondered why the ruling party in the state is opposing the CAA, which could be of benefit to many.

West Bengal has a sizable population of Matuas, who have been migrating to the state since the 1950s, primarily due to religious persecution. The community, with its three million members, influences at least four Lok Sabha seats and 30-40 assembly seats in Nadia, North and South-24 Parganas.

Many political analysts claim that the TMC hopes to politically exploit the confusion over CAA implementation to curry favour with the Matua community, which had voted hands down in favour of the saffron camp in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Training his guns on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over her assertion that the "Election Commission was working at the behest of the BJP", Vijayvargiya, who is also the BJP's Bengal minder, said it was an irony that the TMC boss pointed no finger at the poll panel when her party registered two successive electoral victories.

Contending that Banerjee's "foolish claims" will yield no result, he said the TMC, sensing defeat, is levelling absurd allegations against the saffron party.

"Mamata Banerjee never felt that the EC was acting partially when she won the polls. The irony is that when you were winning the elections, everything seems fine. Once you start sensing defeat, you blame the EC and the electronic voting machines," he said.

Exuding confidence that the BJP will sweep the assembly elections, with more than 200 seats in its kitty, Vijayvargiya also downplayed insinuations that the party could be at a disadvantage for not having projected a chief ministerial face in Bengal, and said "several leaders are capable of taking the reins of the state" and a decision would be taken only after the polls.