‘CAA will be implemented in West Bengal before state polls’

The CAA provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, or CAA, will be implemented in West Bengal before the 2024 Lok Sabha, the lower house of India's bicameral parliament, polls claimed Bharatiya Janata Party state President Sukanta Majumdar, ANI reported on Wednesday.

“BJP has a track record of keeping its promises,” Majumdar said. “We had promised to build the Ram Mandir; we have done it. CAA is our goal, and we will achieve it. It will be implemented before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.” 

In May, federal home minister, Amit Shah, addressing a mass rally in the state, said they would implement the CAA as soon as the Covid-19 pandemic ends.

The CAA, approved on December 11, 2019, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the condition that they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014.

The law, however, is yet to be implemented as rules under the CAA are yet to be framed. The government had said that the formation of the rules was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic and has sought multiple extensions.

The citizenship law has been widely criticised as discriminatory and Indian Muslims fear it could be used with the National Register of Citizens to harass and disenfranchise them. It had sparked massive protests across the country.

Several states such as Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have moved a resolution against the CAA.

In the 2021 Assembly elections, the BJP in its manifesto for West Bengal promised to implement the CAA in its first Cabinet meeting, if the party forms the government in the state. The Trinamool Congress, however, swept the state, winning 48% of the vote and 73% of the seats.

On several occasions, the state's Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said she will not allow the CAA to be implemented in the state.

In May, she had said the Act had lapsed.

“Why are they not bringing this Bill to Parliament?” she asked. “I do not want the rights of citizens to be curbed. We all have to stay together, unity is our strength.”

Meanwhile, West Bengal Pradesh Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Tuesday said that the Act will not be implemented anytime soon, the Economic Times reported.

Kunal Ghosh, Trinamool Congress state general secretary, said they do not believe in the BJP’s “divisive politics”, The Indian Express reported.

“It [the BJP] has failed to manage the country’s economy,” Ghosh said. “It has failed on all the fronts, and these utterances just two years ahead of the Lok Sabha polls are nothing but an attempt to fool the masses.”

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