Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah repeated his defence of the National Register of Citizens on Saturday, accusing West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of spreading misinformation on the matter. Speaking at a rally in Kolkata, Shah blamed the Congress and Trinamool Congress of practising vote bank politics.
“We are workers of the BJP, and for us the country comes first, vote bank comes later,” Shah said. “We will not stall the NRC process, oppose us as much as you want.”
Shah also asked Banerjee if her party would support the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament. “The Trinamool Congress is spreading rumours that refugees will also be evicted after the NRC,” said Shah. “I want to assure all refugees in West Bengal that there is no reason to send them out of the country. The Citizenship Amendment Bill intends to accept all Christians, Hindus and Buddhists living in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Mamata Banerjee, stop spreading misinformation. Trinamool Congress should clear its stance: will you support the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament?”
Shah was addressing the Yuva Swabhiman Samavesh rally to boost the party’s presence in West Bengal ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Around 2 lakh people are expected to attend the rally, organised by the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha.
The Rajya Sabha MP also warned that the Bharatiya Janata Party would “go to every district of West Bengal and throw the Trinamool Congress out”. He also alleged that signals of all Bengali channels “had been lowered so that people will not be able to watch us”.
Shah accused the Trinamool Congress of spreading scams in the state despite coming to power on the poll promise of uprooting corruption.
Earlier in the day, Youth Congress workers waved black flags at Shah as he exited the Kolkata airport. They also shouted slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah, and tried to block his convoy with their motorcycles, PTI reported quoting the police.
Posters asking the BJP to “leave Bengal” and saying “Anti-Bengal BJP go back” had come up around the venue of the rally earlier. The state unit of the party has alleged that the placards were put up by the cadres of ruling Trinamool Congress, which has denied the allegations.
Amit Shah’s rally was a ‘flop show’: TMC
The Trinamool Congress dubbed Amit Shah’s rally as a “flop show”. The party also denied Shah’s allegation that the state government had blocked the TV coverage of his rally. “After the flop meeting, BJP is looking for excuses,” the Trinamool Congress said in a statement, according to PTI. “Black-outs and blackmailing is what BJP does. Do not insult the media.”
Party leader Derek O’Brien said Shah has insulted Bengal. “He doesn’t understand the culture of Bengal and even insulted it with his blatant lies,” said O’Brien, according to ANI. “If he doesn’t apologise within next 72 hours we will take legal action against him.”