Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president JP Nadda on Monday asserted that the execution of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) has been delayed due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and asserted that the law will be implemented soon. He added that all will get benefits of the CAA, assuring the commitment of the government.
Speaking at a meeting of social groups of north Bengal, Nadda said, "As far as CAA is concerned all of you will get the benefits of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. It has been passed in Parliament. We are committed to it."
"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CAA implementation got delayed. But as the situation is slowing improving, the work has started. The rules are now being framed, it will be implemented very soon," Nadda told the social groups, who included Dalits, Gorkhas, Rajbanshis and other tribes.
Various social groups of the region had requested Nadda to ensure early implementation of CAA as there is a vast population of refugees from erstwhile East Pakistan in north Bengal, as per news agency PTI.
Riding the wave of the local sentiment for the National Register of Citizens and the Citizenship Amendment Bill (now CAA), the saffron party had made deep inroads in the region, once considered a BJP bastion. It had bagged seven out of the eight Lok Sabha seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Nadda accused the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal of indulging in "divide and rule politics" in the state to serve the political interests of her party--the TMC, unlike BJP which "works for the development of all".
Assembly polls are due in the state in the first half of 2021 and the fight for power promises to be a tough one as Banerjee will seek to return as chief minister for the third straight time. North Bengal, which comprises eight districts, accounts for 54 of the 294 assembly seats.
Indicating that CAA would be a major poll plank of the BJP in the assembly polls, Nadda said BJP is committed to its implementation. The citizenship law has become a flashpoint in West Bengal since before its enactment in Parliament in 2019 with the ruling TMC opposing the contentious legislation tooth and nail and BJP pressing for its implementation.
According to state BJP sources, the CAA will benefit more than 1.5 crore people across the country, including over 72 lakh in the West Bengal.
Lashing out at the TMC government for its alleged "divide and rule policy" in Bengal, Nadda said only the BJP under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi can take everybody along as he believes in the policy of "development for all'.
"On one hand you have Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji, who works for the development for all and on the other hand, you have West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has employed the policy of divide and rule to serve TMC's political interests. The TMC believes in dividing people, and we believe in uniting people," he said.
Continuing his attack on TMC, which has often been a harsh critic of the saffron party, the BJP president accused it of pursuing "appeasement" policies for its vote bank politics. The Mamata Banerjee government has an "anti-Hindu mindset" which has been exposed and is now trying to misguide various communities, he claimed.
"We all have seen how the Hindu community was being suppressed in the state. But now when Tthe TMC has realised that it is badly affecting the party, it is trying to make a fool of various communities. They are only interested in vote bank politics," he said. Nadda assailed the TMC government for not joining several central schemes, including Ayushman Bharat, PM Kisan Samman Nidhhi, meant for the poor and farmers.
Stating that 76 lakh farmers of West Bengal are being deprived of the government help under Kisan Samman Nidhhi because Banerjee did not allow its implementation, he said "Mamata Ji stop doing politics with the rights of poor people. The day BJP forms government in Bengal within moments we will implement the Ayushman Bharat scheme and PM Kisan Samman Nidhhi in the state".
Nadda thanked the Gorkha groups for their continued support to BJP and said the party is committed to the "permanent political solution" to problems of the Darjeeling hills and the demand for the recognition of 11 Gorkha sects. "Both the issues are there in our manifesto (2019 Lok Sabha polls). We are committed to them," he said.
Nadda exuded confidence that the BJP would form the next government in West Bengal as the people of the state are fed up with the "violence and cut-money" culture of TMC. Nadda, who arrived on a day-long visit took stock of organisational matters ahead of 2021 Assembly elections and held separate meetings with BJP leaders of north Bengal and also social groups.
with PTI inputs