New Delhi: A delegation of BJP leaders from West Bengal met Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday and requested the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA). According to sources in the delegation, they asked the prime minister to speed up the process of framing and notifying the Act’s rules.
The BJP leaders also invited the prime minister to visit West Bengal, making allegations of corruption and violence against the state government.
The delegation was led by BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar, and also included former state president and MP Dilip Ghosh. According to a senior leader who was part of the delegation, the leaders raised the issue of CAA implementation to ensure that all those eligible could enjoy the benefits of Indian citizenship.
“We requested the Prime Minister to implement the CAA in West Bengal so that all those who are eligible can get the benefits. We requested that the rules be framed at the earliest. Modiji gave us a patient hearing, and we submitted all our requests in a written format,” said a senior BJP leader.
Inviting the prime minister to visit West Bengal, the BJP leaders alleged corruption in the implementation of government schemes.
“There is massive corruption in a number of schemes, whether it is the Centre’s housing scheme or the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). The state government has not been implementing them properly,” said another BJP leader.
“There is a need for an inquiry into all these schemes. At the same time, those who are pro-BJP are not given work under MGNREGA. This needs to be probed,” added the leader.
Rules yet to be framed
Although the CAA was notified on 12 December 2019, and came into force from 10 January 2020, it is yet to become operational as the rules have not been notified. The CAA seeks to fast-track Indian citizenship for persons belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
In July this year, Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai had informed Parliament that the government had sought a further extension to frame the rules.
“The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) has been notified on December 12, 2019 and has come into force with effect from January 10, 2020. The Committees on Subordinate Legislation, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have been requested to grant further extension of time up to January 9, 2022 to frame the rules under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019,” Rai said in his answer.
In a written reply to the Lok Sabha Tuesday, Rai gave the figures for people who had applied for Indian citizenship in the past few years. He said a total of 2,262 people had applied in 2016, 855 in 2017, 1,758 in 2018, 4,224 in 2019 and 1,546 in 2020.
Rai told the Lok Sabha that people eligible under the CAA may apply for citizenship after the rules are notified.
Allegations of political violence
The delegation from West Bengal also alleged that political violence continues in the state and requires attention.
“A CBI inquiry has been initiated into the post-poll violence, but even then, such incidents are still going on. At the same time, we discussed issues related to the development of West Bengal and what all needs to be done,” said a BJP leader.
“We also apprised him of the upcoming civic polls and how the state machinery might be misused by the TMC government in the state,” said another leader.
(Edited by Rohan Manoj)