- Bengal BJP chief exuded confidence that CAA will be implemented before 2024 polls
- Ruling TMC said it would never allow its implementation in the state
- BJP has a track record of keeping its promises, said party's Bengal chief
West Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar on Tuesday exuded confidence that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA will be implemented before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, saying the saffron party has a "track record of keeping its promises".
The ruling Trinamool Congress, which has been opposed to the Act, said it would never allow its implementation in the state and noted that such utterances by BJP leaders are aimed at deflecting attention from the Centre's "failure in managing the economy".
"BJP has a track record of keeping its promises. 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," Majumdar told reporters.
The promise of implementing the controversial Act had been a major poll plank of the BJP during the 2019 Lok Sabha and 2021 assembly elections in the state. The saffron party's leaders consider it a plausible factor behind BJP’s growth in the state.
Majumdar's comment comes just days after BJP MLA Asim Sarkar had said that a delay in implementing CAA would hurt the party's support base among refugees as it has created apprehensions among them.
Sarkar, a BJP legislator from Haringhata, dominated by the Matua community, said the delay was creating confusion among the people who had trusted the saffron camp and ensured the party's victory in 18 Lok Sabha seats in the state in 2019.
The ruling TMC, however, said the CAA is being used as a "lollipop to fool the masses ahead of the Lok Sabha polls".
"We don't believe in the divisive politics of the BJP. It has failed to manage the country's economy. 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," TMC state general secretary Kunal Ghosh said.
CAA seeks to grant Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities from Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi and Christian communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who had entered India on or before December 31, 2014.
The Centre has said that citizenship to the eligible beneficiaries of CAA will be given only after rules under the legislation are notified.
Members of the Matua community, who make up a large chunk of the state's Scheduled Caste population, had been migrating to West Bengal from erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) since the 1950s primarily due to religious persecution.
Around 30 lakh Matuas reside in West Bengal, with the community electorally influencing at least five Lok Sabha seats and nearly 50 assembly seats in Nadia, North and South 24 Parganas districts.