Bhaskar Ghosh, an expert in political and economic matters, is actively involved in the BJP’s preparations for next year’s assembly elections in West Bengal. That keeps him busy as he travels frequently travels the party’s state office and the BJP central headquarters in the Capital.
He said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has no option but to implement the Citizenship Amendment Act, National Register of Citizens and National Population Register despite her opposition.
He also accused the opposition parties of misguiding the minority community and students over CAA, NRC and NPR. In an interview with DIPANKAR CHAKRABORTY, he said the BJP will come to power in next year’s assembly polls in West Bengal.
Q: Mamata Banerjee has made it very clear that come what may she will not allow the Centre to implement NRC, CAA or NPR.
A: Diabolical politics of Mamata Banerjee is not being digested by anyone. She is taking credit for implementing the Central government’s schemes and plans under different names. For Rs 2 per kg rice scheme the Central government is giving the state Rs 28. She always alludes to federal structure even when the Governor says anything about the state of affairs in West Bengal.
In a federal structure if the Parliament passes a bill and it becomes an Act after the President’s signature how can she defy it? She considers Bengal as her own house. She is bound to implement all the laws under the federal structure. She is misguiding people.
Q: What will be your game plan to counter what you just called ‘diabolical politics’ of Mamata Banerjee in the run-up to next year’s assembly election in West Bengal?
A: Our strategy is to expose democratically Mamata Banerjee and her state-sponsored terrorism, violence, anarchy and her bad governance. We will also expose how Mamata Banerjee has been misleading the State for the last seven years. She is playing dangerous politics in West Bengal. She is playing with minority sentiments and making Bengal a hot bed of political terrorism of all kinds. NRC was supported by Mamata when she was a part of the NDA.
Now she says she will not implement the NRC. She had earlier opposed infiltration into the country. Now the same Mamata Banerjee is talking in favour of Rohingyas, Muslim infiltrators from Bangladesh. We will also try and tell the people how after 34 years of tyrannical raj of Left, Bengal under Mamata Banerjee is sliding down the same path.
Q: What kind of impact do you visualise the ongoing protests over CAA, NPR and NRC might have on the BJP’s poll prospects in next year’s assembly elections in West Bengal?
A: Those people who have been waiting for citizenship have now finally got it. We hope they will now come forward and extend support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Bengal should be restored to its previous glory. We do not take any steps for votes.
We do it as a service to the nation. Unlike Mamata we do not count numbers. The state has already been impacted by Mamata Banerjee’s administration. We are all set to come to power in West Bengal in next year’s assembly polls.
Q: The country has witnessed widespread protests and unrest over Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR) and NRC (National Register of Citizens). Do you think the BJP has somehow failed to manage the situation?
A: The government move on NRC has been in accordance with the BJP manifesto for 2014 Lok Sabha elections. After completing the work on NRC, we have taken up NPR. There is no confusion regarding citizenship. An amendment to CAA has been passed to grant citizenship to persecuted minority citizens in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The Opposition is scared and misleading people in order to protect their vote banks.
The Opposition is playing politics based on the wrong perception that Muslims who might have infiltrated into India from the three Muslim majority countries for work or in the face of other difficulties will be driven out. They will be treated as per the law as infiltrators. But we have not yet discussed this issue at all in any forums, including Parliament.
Q: So you are saying the BJP has not been able to manage what you call the ‘wrong perception’ propagated by the opposition?
A: BJP does not want to manage the perception but it wants to clear its stand. It is for the common people to judge what is wrong and right. This is not the fight between Left and Right, rather a fight between wrong and right. Unlike in other countries of the world there is no citizenship register in India.
Now is the time to identify who is eligible for citizenship of this country. We have made it clear till 31 December 2014, whosoever has come to this country and lived here for five years or been persecuted on the basis of their religion as per the 10th amendment will be given citizenship.
Q: There is fear among the Muslims that BJP, because it is not dependent on them for winning elections, wants to throw them out of the country by hook or by crook.
A: This is a wrong conception of the media as well as opposition. Without the Muslims’ support the BJP would not have gotten the three-digit results in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Even if you say the Muslims are 20 to 22 per cent of the population then the percentage of votes that we got would not have been possible without Muslim support. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal we got 40 per cent of the votes. Trinamul Congress got 43 per cent of votes.
Do you think without the support of Muslims we could have got 40 per cent in Bengal? It would have been impossible. This is a wrong connotation given by the opposition that the Muslims are not with us. We got 18 seats and in many of them there are so many districts where Muslims are the dominant population. Dinajpur, Murshidabad and Malda in North Bengal are Muslim- dominated.
Q: There has been widespread resentment among students and violence over CAA and NRC in the country. How do you see these protests?
A: I have found that there has not been large-scale support for students’ protests in universities across the country. Students are constructive components of this country. There are disparities in their thoughts and misunderstandings.
Only a few of the universities are involved in the ongoing agitation. We believe good sense will prevail on them. Students are young blood. Students’ violence is their emotional outburst. Things are slowly returning to normal. Students are realizing the futility of engaging in violence.
Q: What has compelled the BJP to launch a door-to-door campaign in the country to apprise people about the CAA, NPR and NCR now?
A: The BJP has no compulsion. It has a compulsion to the common citizens. After the CAA was passed by Parliament, we thought it would be accepted. Now a hoax has been created by the opposition. They are instilling fear in the minds of the minority.
As part of our good governance we found it necessary to go to the grassroots on the issue. We appeal to people don’t misunderstand us. That is the only objective.