West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said divisive politics would not work in the state, hours after Union Union Home Minister Amit Shah accused her of misleading people about National Register of Citizens, PTI reported.

“Everyone is welcome to our state and enjoy the hospitality of our people,” Banerjee said. “But please do not profess any divisive politics...It will not work in Bengal.”

The chief minister, who inaugurated a community puja in South Kolkata, said West Bengal was known to respect leaders of different faiths for ages, and added that “this can never be spoilt”.

“Please do not spread the religion of divisive politics,” she said. “Please do not create rift among people.”

Earlier in the evening, Shah said at an event in the city that the central government would implement NRC in the state but added that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill would be passed first to provide citizenship to all Hindus, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist refugees.

“When Mamata di was in Opposition, she asked for these intruders to be removed from Bengal,” Shah said. “She had once thrown her shawl at the Speaker’s face over that. Now that those intruders have become her vote bank, she does not want them to be removed. Political ambitions should not prevail over national interest.”

Banerjee is a strong critic of the exercise to update database of citizens. Rumours of NRC in West Bengal have created panic and allegedly caused a few people to kill themselves. The final list in Assam was published on August 31. Nineteen lakh people were excluded from the list. Last month, Banerjee had raised concerns about NRC in a meeting with Shah in New Delhi.

There are several controversies surrounding the NRC, including speculation that targets a particular community. Many political parties, including the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, have criticised the exercise in Assam, pointing out that many Bengali Hindus were left out of the register. Bengali Hindus are the BJP’s oldest vote bank in the northeastern state.

Also read:

How Assam’s National Register of Citizens counted people – from 2015 to 2019

Read the stories of those who are most affected by the NRC exercise in our series: The Final Count.

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