BJP MLAs set to seek Amit Shah’s word on CAA
The MLAs of the BJP in Bengal are keen on a clear answer from Union home minister Amit Shah on the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act when the MLAs meet him in Calcutta on May 6.
“We will seek a clear answer from him (Shah) about the timeline of the implementation of the CAA,” said a source in the BJP before adding that a group of MLAs, representing the Matua and the refugee communities, had decided to hand over to him a letter urging him to expedite the process of framing rules for the CAA without delay.
Several BJP insiders in Bengal think the delay in the implementation of the CAA is one of the major reasons behind internal problems in the state unit of the party and they have been looking for an opportunity to take up this issue with Shah.
“Haringhata MLA Asim Sarkar spoke to (Opposition leader) Suvendu Adhikari about this issue on Saturday evening. Both have decided that Sarkar will bring the issue up in front of Shah and others, including Adhikari, would then join the chorus,” a source in the BJP said.
Shah will visit Bengal between May 4 and 6. On the last day of his stay, he will meet the BJP MPs and MLAs at a hotel in Rajarhat near Calcutta.
Sarkar has recently been vocal about the implementation of the CAA. He had said that if the act — billed by the BJP as a one-stop solution for all the problems faced by the Matua community — wasn’t implemented at the earliest, the saffron camp would suffer a major political loss in Bengal. He had also written to the party’s state general secretary (organisation), Amitava Chakraborty, that if the CAA wasn’t implemented by 2024, he would not be able to campaign for the party.
Speaking to The Telegraph on Sunday, Sarkar admitted that the BJP’s legislative party had decided to take up the issue of fast implementation of the CAA with Shah. “What option do we have? If the CAA isn’t implemented in Bengal, the BJP’s (MP) tally will come down to five in 2024 Lok Sabha polls from 18 in 2019,” Sarkar said.
He added that a possibility of a debacle in Bengal in the 2024 polls if the CAA wasn’t implemented would also find a mention in the letter the MLAs would write to Shah.
Sarkar added the issue would be brought by MLAs, including himself, Ashok Kirtania of Bongaon North, Ambika Roy of Kalyani and Swapan Majumdar of Bongaon South.
The Centre had passed the CAA in the parliament on December 11 2019. It received the President’s assent a day later. However, the rules for the act couldn’t be framed in the past three years. The Centre has so far sought four extensions till date — the latest being April 9 this year — to come up with the rules.
“We got voters with the promise of CAA.… Now we can’t keep pushing the goalpost citing technical reasons. The central leaders have to understand this problem,” said a state BJP leader.
If the BJP MLAs act according to their plans, it will be interesting to see how Shah reacts to the question, said a political observer.
“For the BJP, the CAA is a double-edged sword as there is a huge resentment against it in the Northeast, especially Assam, while in Bengal, their leaders want it... It remains to be seen how the BJP leadership handles it,” said the observer.