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Mamata asks TMC leaders to up the ante against NRC

Press Trust of India  |  Kolkata 

Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Thursday asked her party leaders to vigorously campaign against the National Register of Citizens (NRC) issue and asserted that the TMC does not support discrimination on the basis of caste, creed or religion.

Without naming the BJP, Banerjee pointed out that some people are saying those who have taken shelter in the country from Bangladesh will be given citizenship after amending the Citizenship Amendment Bill.

"It must be remembered that those who came over from East Bengal (currently Bangladesh) as refugees are citizens of our country," the West Bengal chief minister said recalling accords between former heads of the two countries.

She asked how many times one has to prove his or her citizenship and how many identity cards they would have to get.

Both the ruling TMC and opposition BJP have made the NRC an issue in West Bengal.

Trinamool Congress leaders have been claiming that the BJP is creating panic over the NRC and the situation in West Bengal is such that several people have died due to the fear that the exercise would be implemented in the state.

BJP president Amit Shah had last month asked state party workers to start making people aware of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill to dampen this campaign of the TMC.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill provides for according Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12 years currently even if they do not possess any document.

After an extended working committee meeting of the party in which MLAs and MPs were also invited on Thursday, Banerjee said the leaders were asked to campaign on the NRC issue and strengthen their relationship with the people.

The TMC has been steadfastly opposing the NRC claiming it is only a tool for harassment and discrimination among the people, while the BJP says Banerjee is against the exercise because of vote bank

The TMC supremo also attended a meeting of SC/ST cell of the party at its headquarter, before chairing the extended working committee meeting.

The party has lost Lok Sabha seats in several North Bengal constituencies and some in South Bengal where scheduled caste, scheduled tribe and OBC populace have a strong presence.

Poll strategist Prashant Kishor attended both the meetings, party sources said.

Kishor has been roped in by the TMC following its not so impressive result in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

To a question, the chief minister said she is keenly waiting for the Supreme Court verdict on the Ayodhya dispute case.

She said she will attend a ceremony on Guru Nanak Dev's 550th Birth Anniversary at a Gurdwara in Siliguri on November 12.

Banerjee said she will also attend the inauguration of India-Bangladesh day-night Test match at Eden Gardens on an invitation by the newly-elected BCCI president Saurav Ganguly.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is also scheduled to attend the event.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, November 07 2019. 21:25 IST