BJP to implement CAA in Bengal, not NRC: Kailash Vijayvargiya
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said on Sunday that the party had no plans to conduct the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in West Bengal. The statement comes amid claims by the Opposition that the BJP will update the NRC and strip people of their citizenship. Legislative Assembly elections are currently underway in West Bengal. Here are more details.
'Looking forward to implement CAA in Bengal'
Vijayvargiya—who is also BJP's Bengal minder—told PTI, "We are only looking forward to implementing the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) after the elections, as promised in the manifesto." "It is an important issue for us, as we strive to grant citizenship to the persecuted refugees. We do not have any plan of conducting the NRC exercise, even if we win the elections," he added.
What is CAA? What is NRC?
The CAA accords expedited Indian citizenship to non-Muslim illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, if they arrived in India on or before December 31, 2014. Critics said the law was discriminatory towards Muslims and excluded minorities persecuted on non-religious grounds. The NRC is a register to enumerate citizens. It was updated for Assam in 2019, controversially excluding 19 lakh from 3.3 crore applicants.
CAA to benefit 72 lakh people in Bengal: BJP
Bengal BJP sources informed PTI that the CAA will benefit over 72 lakh people in the state and over 1.5 crore people across India. Vijayvargiya also questioned why West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) opposed the CAA.
Why is CAA key for West Bengal polls?
Bengal has a sizeable population of Matuas—a section of Hindus who fled religious persecution from erstwhile East Pakistan. The three million-strong community influences at least four Lok Sabha seats and 30-40 assembly seats across Nadia, North and South-24 Parganas. The community had favored the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, but the TMC hopes to exploit the confusion over CAA to their benefit.
Vijayvargiya lashes out at Banerjee for comments against EC
Vijayvargiya also slammed Banerjee, saying that she is only accusing the Election Commission of working at the BJP's behest because she senses defeat. He said she had sensed no partiality when her party secured two successive electoral victories. He also attacked Banerjee over the "outsider vs insider" debate, saying that she has nothing better to talk about. Banerjee has branded the BJP as "outsiders."
'BJP will win with over 200 seats'
Vijayvargiya displayed confidence that the BJP will win the ongoing eight-phase West Bengal elections with over 200 out of 294 seats. Reacting to speculation that the party may be at a loss with a CM candidate, he said, "We are fighting the elections under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership. We have never projected a CM face in poll-bound states. For us, ideology is important."
BJP keen on securing India's eastern borders
Vijayvargiya also said that the party is keen on securing India's eastern borders. He said the borders have turned into a "transit point for terror elements," adding that the infiltration has taken a toll on national security, as well as the economy.
Highlights of BJP's manifesto in West Bengal
In its Bengal poll manifesto, the BJP has promised free education for girls from KG to PG and free rides for women in public transport. It has promised a reservation of 33% for women in government jobs and monetary support for Dalit, tribal girls' education. It also promises Rs. 18,000 aid to 75 lakh farmers under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme.