New Delhi: On a day when Bharatiya Janata Party national working president J.P. Nadda held a rally in West Bengal in support of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA), state unit vice president Chandra Kumar Bose publicly questioned his party’s stand.
Bose, a grandnephew of Subhash Chandra Bose, asked his party, “Why not include Muslims as well?”
Bose took to twitter on December 23 to state, “If CAA2019 is not related to any religion why are we stating – Hindu, Sikh, Boudha, Christians, Parsis and Jains only! Why not include Muslims as well? Let’s be transparent.”
In another tweet, he wrote, “Don’t equate India or compare it with any other nation – as it is a nation open to all religions and communities.”
Taking into consideration the series of public protests in the country against the discriminatory nature of the CAA, the BJP, starting from its top leadership, has embarked on a social media outreach campaign to convey that it has nothing to do with Indian Muslims and it is not anti-Muslim. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing a poll rally in Delhi, said, “When I decided to give ownership rights to around 40 lakh people (of unauthorised colonies) of Delhi, did I take into account their religion or caste? When I laid out schemes like Ujjwala Yojana, Ayushman Bharat or PM Awas, did I see people’s caste or religion? Everyone benefitted from them, be it Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christian. Did we ask whether you go to a temple, mosque or a church?”
In Assam, the BJP has been facing opposition within the party too. While BJP MLA Jagadish Bhuyan has quit the party as the Act violates the Assam Accord, state assembly speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami too expressed apprehension about widespread public concern in the state about the Act posing a threat to Assamese culture and identity and indigenous people’s political rights.
In Bengal, chief minister Mamata Banerjee has been leading several public protests against the Act and has publicly proclaimed that she will not allow its implementation in the state.
Besides Pakistan and Afghanistan, the CAA will allow Hindus from Bangladesh too to become Indian citizens. Aside from Assam, many Hindu Bangladeshis are believed to be residing in Bengal and would likely benefit from the CAA.
Leading the roadshow in Kolkata on December 23, Nadda reportedly said, “Among people who crossed over to India for shelter and safety were those from the Matua and Namashudra (both are Hindu Dalit) communities from Bangladesh. Prime Minister Modi has given them citizenship rights. Is that wrong?”
Bengal is going to polls in 2021. BJP is looking at wresting the state from the ruling Trinamool Congress.