National General Secretary of BJP Kailash Vijayvargiya on Saturday said that it is expected that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act will be implemented from January next year as the Central government wants to grant citizenship to the large refugee population in West Bengal.
Senior BJP leader also accused the TMC government of being asympathetic to the situation of refugees.
He told reporters that the party is hopeful that the process of granting citizenship to refugees under the CAA will start from January next year. He was speaking the party’s “Aar Noy Anyay” (no more injustice) campaign in North 24 Parganas district in West Bengal.
He said that the Central government has passed the CAA with the pure intention of granting citizenship to persecuted refugees coming to our nation from neighbouring countries.
Senior TMC leader and state minister Firhad Hakim reacted to Mr Vijayvargiya’s comment. He said that the BJP is trying to fool the people of West Bengal. He asked BJP what do they mean by citizenship. He questioned that if the Matuas are not Indian citizens then how are they voting in assembly and parliamentary polls every year? He said that the BJP should stop fooling the people of West Bengal.
The Matuas, originally hailed from East Pakistan (present-day Bangladesh). In the 1950s, they started migrating to West Bengal because of religious persecution. The Matuas have an estimated population of 30 lakh in West Bengal. They have a significant influence over results in at least four Lok Sabha seats and 30-40 assembly constituencies in Nadia, North and South 24 Parganas districts.
A section of State BJP leadership is worried as they suspect that the delay and confusion over CAA implementation might lead to refugee voters, especially the Matua community, voting for non-BJP parties in the 2021 assembly elections which are due in April-May next year.
Party sources say that the community had voted heavily in favour of the BJP during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The CAA wishes to provide citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi refugees who have come to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on or before December 31, 2014.