Poll plank: Trinamool plans to link CAB with NRC in Bengal
Civic elections are due in the state before mid-2020 and assembly elections are scheduled for 2021. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, it won 18 of 42 seats in the state, up from the 2 it won in 2014.Updated: Dec 16, 2019 23:32 IST
In West Bengal, the ruling All India Trinamool Congress hopes to link the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) , hoping to gain electoral leverage by playing off fears of the latter, something it used to good effect in the recent bypolls in the state.
“CAB and NRC are two sides of the same coin. We all have some document to prove that we are citizens of India. Someone cannot just come and question our citizenship status. We have seen how 1.9 million Hindus got excluded from NRC in Assam. We will not allow that here,” West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said at a rally in Kharagpur on Monday.
Civic elections are due in the state before mid-2020 and assembly elections are scheduled for 2021. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, it won 18 of 42 seats in the state, up from the 2 it won in 2014.
Analysts say that the BJP’s desire to push CAB through is to ensure it addresses concerns of Hindus left out of NRC, which it has promised to implement nationwide before 2024.
Records at the state refugee, relief and rehabilitation department say that the number of refugees entering India from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1947 was three million. After the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, it rose to six million.
An undefined number of Muslims have also entered Bengal illegally in the last few decades, a fact no political party denies.
The BJP lost in by polls to three assembly seats last month. Among these was Kharagpur, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh’s seat. The bypoll was held because Ghosh was elected to the Lok Sabha last year.
In the other two seats, Karimpur and Kaliagunj, Hindus, especially descendants of refugees from Bangladesh, were supposed to be the main vote bank of the BJP.
The BJP highlighted CAB while the TMC focused on NRC, claiming it would make aliens out of legitimate citizens. The TMC’s strategy paid off.