Bharatiya Janata Party National General Secretary and central observer for West Bengal Kailash Vijayvargiya on Saturday said that the Citizenship Amendment Act will be implemented soon in the state, News18 reported. The BJP leader, however, remained silent on the contentious National Register of Citizens.

“Even if the West Bengal government opposes the implementation of CAA, we [Centre] will go ahead in implementing it,” he said at Thakurnagar in North 24 Parganas district, which is largely inhabited by the backward Matua community. “If the state supports the implementation it will be fine.”

When specifically asked about the NRC, Vijayvargiya replied: “We are talking about implementation of CAA here.” However, according to The Times of India, the BJP leader clarified that there would be no NRC exercise in the state.

BJP MP from Bongaon Shantanu Thakur, who belongs to the Matua community, said people were looking forward to Union Home Minister Amit Shah announcing the implementation of the CAA during his visit too Thakurnagar. Shah will visit the state on December 19.

“Matuas, who have a sizeable population in the state, are lower caste Hindu refugees who migrated to West Bengal from neighbouring Bangladesh during Partition and in the subsequent decades,” Thakur said. “Permanent citizenship has remained a longstanding demand within the Matua community.”

Thakur had earlier expressed displeasure over the government sitting on the implementation of the CAA. Vijayvargiya spent two hours talking to the Bongaon MP during his visit.

Earlier, BJP National President Jagat Prakash Nadda had said during his visit to the state that rules for implementation of the Act were being framed, after which CAA will be implemented in letter and spirit. The Ministry of Home Affairs had also recently said that rules for the Citizenship Amendment Act are still under preparation.

On December 6, Vijayvargiya had said that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act was likely to be implemented from January. “The Centre has passed the Act with the honest intention of granting citizenship to persecuted refugees coming to our country from neighbouring nations,” he had said.

In October, Nadda had cited the coronavirus pandemic as the reason for the delay in implementation of the law and said that it would be done soon.

The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, 2019, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the condition that they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. It has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims. The act sparked huge protests across the country.