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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 21 May 2024

TMC's Abhishek Banerjee slams BJP over fake promise of citizenship to Matua community

'Conferring citizenship through an act to all bonafide citizens is an insult,' the senior Trinamul leader said raising questions about the community's decision to vote for the BJP

Subhasish Chaudhuri Badkulla (Nadia) Published 28.06.23, 07:23 AM
Abhishek Banerjee speaks at a public meeting in Badkulla, Nadia, on Tuesday.

Abhishek Banerjee speaks at a public meeting in Badkulla, Nadia, on Tuesday. Picture by Abhi Ghosh

Trinamul national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee has accused the BJP of "trapping" the Matua community with a fake promise of citizenship to win elections and at the same time urged community members to give the saffron party a befitting reply in the ensuing rural poll for misleading them.

Speaking at a public meeting on Tuesday in Matua-dominated Badkulla in Nadia, Abhishek blamed the BJP for its failure to frame rules of the Citizenship Act even though four years have elapsed since the bill was passed in Parliament in December 2019.

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Explaining how the BJP was misleading the Matuas over their purported identity crisis, the Diamond Harbour MP said: “They (BJP) assured to implement the CAA for the benefit of Matuas. But even after the expiry of about 42 months, they were yet to frame the rules that hardly take at most a month or two to complete the job. But nothing has happened so far.”

“Conferring citizenship through an act to all bonafide citizens is an insult," Abhishek said raising questions about the community's decision to vote for the BJP.

"If people like you are declared as unauthorized then the people you have elected are also illegal and they should step down. The BJP has been misleading you. So never fall for them and get trapped,” he said and added that nobody could rob their rights as long as the Mamata Banerjee government existed.

Trinamul’s concern for Matuas comes in the backdrop of the 2021 Assembly poll when the party suffered a set back losing in all seven Assembly segments under the Matua-dominated Ranaghat parliamentary seat. Earlier in the 2019 Lok Sabha poll, the BJP riding on its "citizenship" assurance won the Matua-dominated Ranaghat and Bongaon seats.

To retain the support base among the Matuas, the Trinamul has begun penetrating the Matua-dominated areas, mostly in Nadia and North 24-Parganas, raising the issue that has created restlessness among the community over the delay in the implementation of CAA.

After the CAA was passed in Parliament on December 12, 2019, Union home ministry began framing the rules. But the ministry has so far sought nine extensions from the parliamentary committee on subordinate legislation to complete the job.

Referring to such inordinate delay, Abhishek said the BJP had nothing new to offer except misleading Matuas and importing politics of hatred that he had experienced while trying to visit the community's revered abode at Thakurnagar early this month. He alleged that BJP MP Shantanu Thakur had denied him entry to the abode.

"Shantanu Thakur closed the gate of Thakurbari temple to deny me entry and I was asked to obtain prior permission. I never heard that a person needs permission to enter a temple anywhere. This is a small example of the brand of Hindutva they want to establish in Bengal," the Diamond Harbour MP said.

Hitting back at the allegations, the Bongaon MP accused Abhishek of playing double standards.

"If Abhishek Banerjee is really concerned about the welfare of Matuas, he should first stop opposing the Citizenship Act," Thakur told The Telegraph reiterating that the by next year the attack would be implemented.

About Abhishek's allegation that he was denied entry to Thakurbari, Thakur said: "There is no bar on entry to Thakurbari. But one should come as a simple devotee, not with a huge police cover to create problems for others."

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