Kolkata: Senior BJP leader and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan expressed confidence on Tuesday that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) would be implemented before the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. Speaking to PTI, Chouhan emphasised that the CAA aimed at granting citizenship rather than revoking it, contrary to claims by some opposition parties.
"I am confident that CAA will be implemented before the Lok Sabha polls. This act is very much needed. It has been clarified time and again that this law is not against anyone but about giving citizenship to those brothers and sisters of the neighbouring countries who fled the countries for religious persecution", Chouhan said. His assertion comes amidst earlier reports this month suggesting that the rules for the legislation would be notified "much before" the announcement of the Lok Sabha elections.
Enacted by the BJP-led government in 2019, the CAA aims to grant Indian citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim migrants, including Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, and Christians, from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan who entered India before December 31, 2014.
The promise of implementing the controversial CAA served as a major electoral platform for the BJP in the previous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in West Bengal. Party leaders believe it played a pivotal role in the BJP's rise in the state. Chouhan, who has been assigned to oversee the organisation of the Howrah cluster two Lok Sabha seats from the district, in West Bengal, exuded confidence in achieving the target of 35 Lok Sabha seats from the state.
"In Bengal, the rule of cut, commission and corruption is going on and the people of the state are fed up with the misrule of the TMC. Last time from two seats we won 18 seats, this time we are confident of winning 35 plus seats from the state", he told PTI here.
In the 2019 elections, TMC secured 22 seats, Congress won two, and the BJP bagged 18 seats in the state. Hitting out at the state government over the recent unrest at Sandeshkhali, Chouhan said the "revelations at Sandeshkhali are spine chilling.
"The revelations at Sandeshkhali are spine-chilling. The state government allowed such things to happen", he said. Protests persisted in Sandeshkhali for the sixth consecutive day, with a significant number of women taking to the streets, demanding the arrest of TMC leader Sheikh Shajahan and his alleged "gang." The accusations include forcefully capturing land and sexually harassing women.
Chouhan also criticised Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over Congress' ongoing 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' and wondered why Congress leaders were silent on the issue. "The Congress is conducting Nyay Yatra, so why is it silent about the Anyay (injustice) at Sandeshkhali? This is a double standard of the Congress which now stands exposed", he said.
Mocking the Congress over the opposition bloc INDIA falling apart after two of its allies switched sides to NDA, Chouhan said, and "INDIA bloc was a combination of parties without any ideological convocation, so this was bound to happen".
"Why will people trust Congress or its INDIA bloc? When it doesn't have any ideological conviction? It is now falling like a pack of cards with its allies deserting it", he said in an apparent reference to JD(U) and RLD, which had quit the opposition front to join the BJP-led NDA. "Even Mamata Banerjee had challenged Congress to win at least 40 seats. People of this country trust Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the development work done by the BJP in the last ten years", he said.
While the CPI (M), Congress, and TMC form part of the opposition bloc INDIA, in West Bengal, the grand old party has aligned with the CPI(M) against TMC and BJP. The TMC has recently announced to go alone in the Lok Sabha polls in the state.