February 13, 2021 5:46:37 am
BJP leader Biswajit Das, who recently quit the TMC, on Friday accused the saffron party of blackmailing the Matua community in the name of granting citizenship.
The statement from the Bongaon Uttar MLA came a day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah at a rally said the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) would be implemented once the Covid-19 vaccination drive ends. In the rally at Thakurnagar in North 24 Parganas district, Das was stopped from entering the venue.
Despite joining the BJP, Das was seen touching Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s feet ahead of a 20-minute private meeting with her on the last day of the state Assembly on February 8, triggering speculation that he may return to his former party.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Das said, “It would take 10 years to complete the Covid-19 vaccination drive. The Matua community is asking questions now (on CAA implementation). Yesterday, BJP MP Shantanu Thakur could not give a clear answer when this new law will be implemented. He is indulging in anti-party activities and making anti-party statements. He is not working for the interest of the Matua community.”
Thakur is the head of the Matua Mahasangha and was elected to the Lok Sabha on a BJP ticket in 2019.
Matuas trace their ancestry to erstwhile East Pakistan and migrated to India after the Partition and the birth of Bangladesh. Many of them have been accorded Indian citizenship while the rest have not. A Scheduled Caste group, the community has presence in at least 42 Assembly in North 24 Parganas and Nadia districts, and in some parts of north Bengal.
Reacting to the allegation, Thakur told reporters, “No one is blackmailing anyone. Das is trying to attack the Union home minister for his statement. He is trying to divide the community.”
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said the issue of no entry to Das had been addressed and rejected speculation that he was leaving the party.
“There was a misunderstanding (on Das not being allowed to Shah’s public meeting). Now it has been sorted. No one is leaving the party,” said Ghosh.
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