Kolkata: Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who is in Kolkata for a day-long visit to address a rally and launch the BJP's 'Aar Noi Annay (no more atrocity)' campaign, said 'Sonar Bangla' (golden Bengal) is not possible as long as the Mamata Banerjee government remains in power in the state.
"Bengal is lagging behind in terms of development under Mamata Banerjee's leadership and 'Sonar Bangla' cannot be formed under her watch," said Shah, who arrived in the state capital on Sunday morning.
Hundreds of Left and Congress protesters, carrying black flags and posters against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), demonstrated outside the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport and raised "go back" slogans against him.
In the backdrop of riots that broke out in Northeast Delhi and amid a strong anti-CAA sentiment, Shah accused opposition parties of building a negative perception about the law.
"The CAA will not take away anybody's citizenship, the opposition is terrorising refugees by creating false perceptions about the CAA. CM Mamata Banerjee will not be able to stop us from granting citizenship to refugees. She opposed the CAA and ensured riots take place in West Bengal," he said, adding a grand Ram temple will come up in Ayodhya in a few months.
Shah reiterated that the Trinamool Congress (TMC) is misleading minorities in the state by saying they will lose their citizenship due to the CAA.
"Attempts were made by Mamata 'didi' to mislead the Muslim brothers and sisters. They were told they will lose their citizenship if the CAA was implemented in Bengal," he said. "I would like to assure all the minorities that CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is not about snatching citizenship, but it’s about giving citizenship to non-Muslim refugees fleeing neighbouring countries due to religious persecution. The ruling party in Bengal is intentionally trying to mislead people for their political interest."
Shah assured the Matua and Namashudra community of the BJP government's support, saying "no one can stop us from implementing CAA in Bengal".
"You have given a chance to communists, you have given a chance to the TMC – now I would like to request you to please give us five years, we will give you a ‘Sonar Bangla’,” he said.
Criticising the chief minister's nephew, Abhishek Banerjee, Shah said neither anyone from the ‘parivar’ (family) nor a 'shahzada' (prince) would next helm the state. "I would like to announce that the next chief minister of Bengal will be a son of the soil and no one from the 'Parivar',” he said.
Shah criticised Banerjee for not supporting the CAA and the Matua and Namashudra communities. The CAA has been a long-pending demand of the refugees (a majority of them consist of Matuas) who entered India from Bangladesh after 1971. While they have voting rights in Bengal, the CAA does not recognise them as Indians because as per Article 6 of the Constitution, anyone who entered India from East or West Pakistan after July 19, 1948, must apply for citizenship.
Launching the statewide ‘Aar Noy Annayay’ campaign, Shah asked citizens to give a missed call at 9727294294 to become a part of it and against the misrule of the TMC government. Through this campaign, the state BJP will aim to connect with more than six crore voters over the next six months. Beside this, the BJP is also working on digital platforms like SMSes, WhatsApp, websites and social media where people can directly share their problems and grievances against the ruling government.
Each and every "morcha" and cell of the BJP were asked to organise mass protests against Banerjee for her "misrule".