Kolkata: On a day the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) was tabled in the Lok Sabha, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday hardened her opposition to the legislation, urging everyone to form a joint front on the issue and averred that not a single citizen would have to leave the country.
Calling the CAB and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) two sides of the same coin, Banerjee said the BJP would not be allowed to “divide and rule”.
“No NRC, no divide and rule… Whether it is the CAB or NRC, they are two sides of the same coin,” Banerjee said at a public rally in Kharagpur, adding that all residing in the country are citizens of India.
“Form a united front to oppose NRC and CAB. Every person who stay in India are its citizens. Some people own land, some others something else, everybody has something or the other,” she said.
Banerjee said if the BJP led NDA government at the Centre wanted to give citizenship to more people, they can always give deemed citizenship, somewhat on the lines of Green Card.
“But what is the necessity that you are asking those who have been living in the country for 70-100 years to prove their citizenship,” she asked.
Banerjee once again referred to the NRC exercise in Assam and said the majority of the 19 lakh people who have been excluded from the list are Bengali Hindus. Similarly, one lakh people from the Gorkha community. who have for generations sacrificed their lives for the country, do not figure in the list.
She urged people to procure ration cards and complete the mutation process for their land in order to have irrefutable proof of citizenship.
Earlier in the day, Banerjee posted on her Twitter handle that the Constitution’s basic structure shouldn’t be tampered with.
“On this day in 1946, the Constituent Assembly met for the first time. My tribute to the founding fathers who created India’s Constitution. We must never tamper with the basic spirit of what is written in this great document,” she said.