West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has asserted that her government will not allow the implementation of National Register of Citizens (NRC) or National Population Register (NPR) in the state. Maintaining that all the residents of the state are citizens of the country and no one can change that, Mamata Banerjee accused the BJP of trying to play divisive politics using the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Addressing a public meeting here in North 24 Parganas district bordering Bangladesh, she said, “I, as the chief minister, say that you are citizens and no one can change that. We will not allow NRC or NPR.”
Banerjee claimed that these are the BJP’s ploy to throw people out of the state.
BJP national general secretary and in-charge of West Bengal Kailash Vijayvargiya last week said that the CAA was likely to be implemented from January next year, as the Centre is keen to grant citizenship to the large refugee population in West Bengal.
Wooing the Matua community who hold considerable sway over a number of assembly constituencies in North 24 Parganas and neighbouring Nadia district, Banerjee said that a slew of development programmes had been taken up for the community.
“We will not allow them to turn Bengal into Gujarat,” the TMC supremo asserted, claiming that the BJP has destroyed the country through its “divisive politics.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has brought three laws against the interests of farmers to enable corporates to take away their produce at will, Banerjee alleged.
She alleged further that the BJP-led union government had allowed hoarding of potato, onion and other necessary food items by removing these from the list of essential commodities leading to price rise.
The chief minister accused the BJP of making false allegations over providing monetary relief to the victims of cyclone Amphan. “Just because one or two elements did some mischief, you (BJP) are seeking the accounts of Amphan relief. How much money have you given that you are asking for it?” she said.
The Calcutta High Court has recently directed the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to audit cyclone Amphan-related relief amid allegations of irregularities.
“The Prime Minister made a dramatic visit to Basirhat (after the cyclone) for publicity and announced Rs 1,000 crore (for relief). It is our money which he has simply sent in advance,” she said, claiming that the central government has only given the money from what was due to the state.
She questioned how the Centre asks for accounts when it is the state government which is making roads and providing people with electricity, drinking water and other facilities.
“The central government is denying the state of its GST compensation dues,” she said while maintaining that the TMC dispensation is going ahead with several development schemes in the state despite its tight financial position.
“Despite such a financial situation, I am giving a lot to the people. If anyone else can do the same, I will resign the same day,” Banerjee said.
A small section of people who waved placards with their demands written on those during the meeting, she urged people not to hurt her.
“If you hurt me, I sometimes feel maybe I should not remain (in the chief minister’s office) they don’t want me,” an emotional Banerjee said.
She urged them not to raise placards with demands at her meetings. “You can always write to me and I will look into your issues,” the chief minister said.
Mamata Banerjee said that out of the 10 crore population of the state, 9.5 crore were beneficiaries of the schemes of her government.
She claimed that the BJP government at the Centre was selling off and privatising banks, railways, defence, Steel Authority of India (SAIL) and coal mines.
“The central government buys only 70,000 metric tonnes of rice from farmers in West Bengal, while it purchases a lot more from several other states,” the chief minister said, accusing it of partisan behaviour.
She said that her government bought 45 lakh metric tonnes of paddy from farmers of the state to provide them with adequate support.
Alleging that the BJP has brought outsiders to the state, who are going door-to-door to make divisive campaigns, Banerjee said that the saffron party had divided the “Matua family” through its divisive politics.
The NRC and the CAA had led to a sharp division within the Matua Mahasangha, an apex body of the Hindu refugee sect, with one group supporting the TMC and another backing the BJP.
Maintaining that she keeps her words, she said, “I am not like the BJP who makes promises before elections, but runs away later.”
Mamata Banerjee said that Rs 10 crore was sanctioned for the development of the community and assured them that a holiday would be announced on the birth anniversary of founder Harichand Thakur, the founder of the Matua sect.