New Delhi: Sounding the poll bugle well before West Bengal goes to polls in 2021, Union home minister Amit Shah on Tuesday, took on Trinamool Congress chief and state chief minister Mamata Banerjee, stating that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would bring in monumental changes in the state.
Striking directly at Mamata Banerjee’s agenda to prevent a National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in West Bengal, Shah told West Bengal that not only would the BJP government wean out all “illegal infiltrators," but the government would also bring in the Citizenship Amendment Bill which would ensure that all Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Christian refugees were ensured Indian citizenship.
“All of Bengal is being misled. Mamata didi is saying that if NRC is brought here, Hindus will have to leave West Bengal. This is the biggest lie. I assure all of Bengal that all people – especially our Hindu brothers, Jains, Christians, and Buddhists will not be thrown out by the Indian government. This lie is being spread to mislead the people of Bengal," Shah said in Kolkata.
While Mamata Banerjee had also expressed to the home minister, a fortnight back, her displeasure against the exercise, Shah sidestepped her to say that the Citizenship Bill would be introduced before NRC was brought in.
“Before NRC we will bring in citizenship bill. This means within India all Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Christians who have sought refuge will be given Indian citizenship. And I assure you that all those refugees will have as much right over this country as much as I have," Shah said, adding that the Bill would empower all refugees to vote and enjoy all citizenship rights.
Hitting out at the TMC for failing for extend support to the Bill in Parliament, Shah said, “We had brought this bill in Rajya Sabha and the TMC MPs did not let the House function and the bill did not get passed. And the only reason these refugees don’t have citizenship is because TMC opposed it."
While Shah added that the passage of the Bill was pivotal to India’s internal security, he said that no “infiltrator" would be allowed to reside in the country.
“We will not let any infiltrator stay here. We will identify and throw them out. Just because they are Mamata Banerjee’s vote bank now, she is saying don’t throw them out. We will not let any refugee be thrown out and not let any infiltrator stay. The internal security of the country depends on this and if this is not done, we will suffer," he added.
While the BJP had won 18 out of 42 seats in West Bengal, in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls, Shah stressed on the fact that Durga Puja was no longer politicized in the state with the BJP having significantly gained a toehold. However, Shah also hit out at the TMC for the unprecedented post poll violence in West Bengal.
“Thirty of our parry workers have lost their lives in post poll violence and in the coming election it will not go waste and we will win with full majority. The situation in Bengal is worrisome. Earlier Bengal was at the forefront of religious, scientific and cultural development. Where has all this gone? Industrial and pharmaceutical productivity has fallen, bank deposits have fallen. Was this the dream of “sonar Bangla"? Give us a chance and we will make it sonar Bangla," Shah stated.