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Chidambaram to coach Congress leaders in Bengal on anti-CAA strategy

Congress booklet to quote from various BJP documents to “expose sinister game for Bengal”.

Updated: Jan 16, 2020 09:56 IST

By Snigdhendu Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times Kolkata

Protest have been raging in Kolkata against the CAA, NRC and NPR since December. (Samir Jana/HT Photo)

Even as senior Congress leader P Chidambaram arrives in Kolkata on Saturday to train the party’s state leaders on how to counter the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) at a workshop, the grand old party’s West Bengal unit has decided to publish a booklet on the CAA, National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR) to counter the BJP.

The Congress plans to juxtapose contents from a booklet by the BJP’s state unit on CAA, against various statements made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah.

“The booklet will be printed in large numbers for distribution across the state. The contents will be finalised after the workshop. We are going to highlight the discrepancies in various documents published by BJP and statements made by Narendra Modi and Amit Shah to show how they are playing a sinister game in Bengal,” said Congress state unit spokesperson Amitabha Chakraborty.

Bengal Congress president, Somen Mitra said that the BJP booklet was an example of ‘double standards’.

“It contradicts Prime Minister’s statement on NRC and detention centres,” he said.

A senior Congress leader involved in state-level planning said that while Modi and Shah are repeatedly saying that NRC and CAA are not connected in any way, the Bengal BJP’s booklet says that NRC is the next step of CAA and that only Muslims will have to face the test of NRC because of CAA.

The BJP’s booklet in Bengali was released on January 5 by Union minister Babul Supriyo in Kolkata. It reads: “NRC comes next. At least that’s the intention of the union government.” It also states that “After the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), no Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Christian or Parsi will find their name in the D-voter’ (doubtful voters) list. The Hindus and the Sikhs have their homelands secured.”

Significantly, the BJP booklet on CAA published in Hindi for pan-India circulation, does not mention NRC.

Reacting to the Congress’ allegations, BJP state unit president Dilip Ghosh said, “We promised the people of Bengal that infiltrators will be identified and driven out. We cannot go back on our promise. Let the opposition try to confuse people, we would never compromise on the question of national security. Foreigners must leave our land.”

Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders did not want to comment on the Congress’ planned publication. “We are leading the battle against BJP and NRC, NPR and CAA and we will lead it,” said Trinamool Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee.

Meanwhile, the Congress state unit has also planned a week-long programme from January 23, Netaji Subash Chandra Bose’s birth anniversary, to January 30, the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Left leaders will be invited to these programmes.

“Netaji and Gandhiji are epitomes of communal harmony. We will highlight their lifelong battle against communally divisive forces,” Somen Mitra said.


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