Challenge BJP to cross even 200 seats; won't allow CAA in Bengal: Mamata

Mamata challenges BJP to cross 200 seats, vows to block CAA in Bengal
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee

Krishnanagar (WB) | West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday mocked the BJP-led NDA's target of winning 400-plus seats in the Lok Sabha polls and challenged the saffron party to win at least 200 constituencies.

The TMC chief also reaffirmed her refusal to allow the enforcement of the Citizenship Amendment Act in the state and cautioned the people that applying for CAA would turn an applicant into a foreigner and urged them not to apply for it.

"The BJP is saying '400 paar', I challenge them to cross the 200-seat benchmark first. In the 2021 West Bengal assembly polls, they aimed for 200 plus seats but had to stop at 77. Some of these 77 have since joined us," she said while campaigning for TMC candidate Mahua Moitra in the Krishnanagar area.

Dubbing the BJP a 'jumla' party, the TMC supremo accused them of "peddling lies" regarding the CAA, stating "Modi's guarantee on CAA is a zero guarantee."

"The CAA is a trap to turn legal citizens into foreigners. Once you implement CAA, NRC will follow. We would allow neither CAA nor NRC in West Bengal. Don't fall for the false assurance of the central government. If you apply, you will be designated as a foreigner for 5 years," Banerjee said while addressing her first rally in the election season after her injury earlier this month.

Reaching out to the Matua community, who are expected to benefit most from the implementation of the CAA, the TMC supremo urged the community to have faith in her, stating she would never allow "anyone to snatch your citizenship."

"Matuas, please have faith in me. I will not allow anyone to snatch your citizenship. Do you want that or want to live peacefully? Through CAA, they will snatch everything from you and keep you in a detention camp," she said.

Matuas, originally from East Pakistan, are a weaker section of Hindus who migrated to India during the partition and after the creation of Bangladesh following religious persecution.

Since the 90s, political parties have courted the support of the Matuas, whose substantial population and tendency to vote cohesively make them a valuable voting bloc akin to minority groups, particularly in alignment with the BJP's stance on the CAA.

According to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), rules of which were notified on March 13, the government will now start granting Indian nationality to persecuted non-Muslim migrants - Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, and Christians - from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan who arrived in India before December 31, 2014.

Praising Moitra for her fight against the BJP, Banerjee said, "Despite Mahua Moitra being elected by you people (electorate), she was expelled unceremoniously."

"We have again re-nominated her from this seat. Mahua was expelled as she was most vocal against the BJP in parliament. You people have to ensure her victory with a record margin," she said.

Banerjee criticised the opposition bloc INDIA partners -- CPI(M) and Congress -- for "joining hands with the BJP" in West Bengal.

"There is no INDIA alliance in West Bengal. The CPI (M) and Congress are working for the BJP in Bengal. I have formed this INDIA bloc and gave it this name. After elections we will look into it," she said.

The chief minister urged the voters not to vote for the Left-Congress-ISF alliance candidates in the state as voting for them means "voting for the BJP."

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