The BJP leaders and workers, including the Darjeeling MP Raju Bista today joined the ceremony in Siliguri.
Amid rumours that Matua leader and BJP MP Shantanu Thakur is disappointed with party’s delay to implement CAA, Kailash Vijayvargiya has said that the new citizenship act would be soon rolled out.
“There’s no compulsion about speaking to the state government. CAA will be implemented in West Bengal, irrespective of whether the state supports it or not. And there’s been no talk of NRC in West Bengal. CAA will be executed here,” Vijayvargiya said before a meeting with Thakur, reported Zee 24 Ghanta.
Vijayvargiya, BJP national secretary and party’s chief convener in West Bengal, has categorically dismissed the speculations that Thakur, the leader of All India Matua Mahasanga, was not the content with party’s approach to CAA.
“Shantanu Thakur is one among us. There’s no distance between him and us. The opposition is spread a lie,” Vijayvargiya said.
The central BJP leader also said that what the saffron camp did for the Matuas was unrivalled. “Matua community will not anything like what BJP has done for them.”
Majority of the Matua populace, a Namashudra (Bengali Dalit) community in Bengal who worship the Thakur family as their guardians, are believed to have migrated from Bangladesh, erstwhile East Pakistan, during and after the partition.
Even though the Thakur family had come to India in 1946, the majority of Matuas crossed the border “illegally” after 1971 when Bangladesh was liberated from Pakistan.
While most of the Matuas have enrolled their name on the voter’s list, the 2003 edition of the NRC (National Register of Citizens) tagged them as refugees and infiltrators.
They continue to vote. But there have been reports of Matuas being denied caste certificates and passports, with the community alleging that the voter cards did not guarantee them citizenship anymore.
As a result, the controversial CAA, which has made it easier for non-Muslims victims of religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan to get Indian citizenship, was welcomed with much joy by Matuas.
The roll-out of the Act would mean permanent citizenship for all them. Thus, the issue of renewed citizenship to Matuas has become a major talking point in the poll-bohnd West Bengal.
Matua voters, who are believed to be 3 crores in number in a state of around 10 crore population, were considered close to Mamata Banerjee’s TMC.
However, the affiliation suffered a blow after BJP made a massive inroads into the Matua community during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. It worsened further after Mamata Banerjee emerged as one of the strongest opposing forces of the CAA.
But with the BJP-led government yet to formulate the rules and regulations to implement CAA, Bongao MP Shantanu Thakur has begun to express his disenchantment.
Shantanu, the joint president of AIMM, have written to the Central Government twice in recent months for the implementation the contentious citizenship act. He has also led public rallies and meetings to reiterate his demand.