Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari said on Saturday that Mamata Banerjee had resorted to divisive politics and banked on the NRC issue when the chief minister had realised that they were turning away from her.
Adhikari was speaking at a programme organised by the minority cell of the BJP in Calcutta’s Red Road, where Mamata had addressed a gathering on the occasion of Id a week ago and broached the NRC issue.
“When she (Mamata) realised that Muslims were turning away from her, she had two weapons. First, she resorted to divisive politics to send out a message that Muslims would be unsafe under the BJP rule. Second, she started to fan the NRC issue,” Adhikari said.
The BJP claimed that around 2,000 people were present at the event. But the crowd seemed to be of a few hundred. BJP’s national vice-president Dilip Ghosh and former Rajya Sabha member Swapan Dasgupta also attended the programme.
Adhikari’s remarks come within 12 days of Mamata revealing the contents of a letter from the Centre. In the letter, Bengal was asked to identify illegal Aadhaar card holders in North 24-Parganas and South 24-Parganas. The chief minister said the letter indicated the Centre’s plans to carry out an Assam-like NRC in the country.
“They want to deprive a particular community of their citizenship through this drive. The plot is to declare all those people ‘foreigners’ if their Aadhaar card is detected with any lack (of information). It means they are again playing with the NRC card,” Mamata had said on April 17.
The disclosure by the chief minister, administrative sources said, created a flutter in the state, especially among Muslims in the border districts.
The development did come amid the BJP’s efforts to reach out to Muslims as part of a national agenda to win over the minority community.
The BJP has identified several Lok Sabha seats in the country, including 13 in Bengal, where Muslims are predominant.
Leaders have been given the task of courting the community in these constituencies and convincing them of the “good work” the Narendra Modi government has been doing for Muslims.
With panchayat polls nearing, the BJP had to somehow contest the claims of Mamata, said a source, before adding that the programme on Saturday was the best platform and Adhikari used it.
“Neither the Prime Minister nor the Home Minister has said anything about implementing the NRC,” Adhikari said.
“Mamata Banerjee came on stage during the Id cele rations here on Red Road last week and used the religious, and cultural platform to urge for votes in the 2024 elections. This is not right.... I want to warn Mamata Banerjee that minority Muslims are not your vote bank. They had become so in between, but will not remain in the future,” he added.
Reacting to Adhikari’s comments, Trinamul Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said: “Their statements prove their dichotomy. Any sane individual should criticise moves like the CAA or the NRC. The BJP alleges illegal infiltration in Bengal through the borders. To stop that is the Union home ministry and the BSF’s responsibility. What are they doing?”