Citizenship bill top campaign issue, will expose Mamata: Bengal BJP chief
The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) that proposes to give citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Muslim-majority countries neighbouring India is the main issue for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) campaign in West Bengal ahead of the 2021 Assembly elections, the party’s state unit chief Dilip Ghosh said.
“Let Mamata Banerjee try creating confusion over NRC. In Bengal, NRC would not come up as an issue until we have secured the rights of Hindus and other minorities from Islamic countries through CAB. We will thoroughly expose her over this. Does she want the Hindus persecuted in Bangladesh to get citizenship or not? She will have to answer,” Ghosh, Lok Sabha MP from Midnapore, told HT.
His remarks came in the middle of a raging political controversy in West Bengal over the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) vowing to stall any citizenship screening exercise in the state and BJP leaders insisting that ‘all Muslims infiltrators will be driven out’.
“I am confident that the CAB would be brought in Parliament very soon and get passed. Bills on article 370 and triple talaq got passed. Those who would oppose CAB would do it at the risk of identifying themselves as anti-Hindu,” said Ghosh, who has had a meteoric rise in Bengal politics since joining BJP from Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in November 2014.
After taking charge as the state unit president in December 2015, Ghosh had said that the plight of the Hindus in West Bengal topped the party’s concerns in the state. During this interview, however, he said that the focus has changed.
“When I took charge, the primary need was to instill confidence among the Hindus that they can fight back Mamata Banerjee’s utmost communal politics and that there was at least one political party ready to stand by them. That task has been successfully achieved and we have decided to focus on the issues that affect all people of the state,” he said.
The 55-year-old had been an RSS pracharak between 1982 and 2016, until getting elected to the state Assembly. He said that the biggest challenge for him at present was to ‘combat political terror unleashed by TMC’.
“We will go to the Assembly elections with three primary promises - restoring democracy, ensuring a rule free from violence and corruption and revive Bengal’s cultural and industrial heritage,” he said.
Ghosh ruled out that there was any contradiction between the party’s pitch for seeking votes from all sections of the society, including the Muslims, on the one hand, and on the other pressing for expulsion of only Muslims through citizenship screening exercise.
“We are explaining to the Muslims that Muslim infiltrators from Bangladesh are taking up exactly the same jobs which Muslims of West Bengal are engaged and skilled in. Muslims have expertise in one set of skills and Hindus have expertise in another. So, the Bangladeshi infiltrators are eating away the opportunities of West Bengal’s original Muslims,” he said.
He claimed that many Muslims, especially the youth and women, enrolled as BJP member during the recent membership drive.