'TMC govt won't last till 2026 if….': WB BJP chief

Kolkata: Exuding confidence in the party’s prospects for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal, BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar said the TMC government will not complete its full term till 2026 if the saffron party gets even one more seat than the Mamata Banerjee-led party. Claiming that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is an ideological issue for Bengal BJP akin to the Ram Mandir issue for the central unit, Majumdar said the Act will help the party sweep the elections in the state.

In an interview with PTI, Majumdar said the people of the state have decided to defeat the corrupt and anarchic TMC in the LS polls.

“We have set a target of winning 35 seats from Bengal. We are confident about it. If we get even one more seat than that of the TMC, which we will get, the Mamata Banerjee government will not complete its full term till 2026. Its government would collapse,” he said.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah in April last year had set a target of winning 35 out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state. Majumdar, however, said the party would not be responsible for the collapse, rather “dynasty politics” of the TMC would be the reason for it.

“We were not the reason for the collapse of the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government in Maharashtra; rather it was Uddhav Thackeray’s love for his son and NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s love for his daughter that was responsible for it. It was dynasty politics that led to the collapse.”

“In Bengal, too, it will be love for the nephew that will lead to its collapse. If you try to give something to a person not worthy of it, then everything ought to go haywire,” he said in an apparent reference to TMC’s national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, the nephew of Mamata Banerjee.

The BJP presently has 74 MLAs in the 294-member state assembly, out of which seven have switched over to the TMC camp but have not resigned from the post. The TMC has 217 MLAs.

Speaking on the issue of CAA, the Balurghat MP said the Act has come as a big relief to persecuted Hindus from Bangladesh who are now staying in the state as “West Bengal is the only homeland for persecuted Bengali Hindus.”

“CAA is more of an ideological issue for the Bengal BJP, rather than a political issue, just like Ram Mandir is an ideological issue for the central BJP. What will happen to persecuted Hindu Bengali refugees? Where will they go if we don’t give them citizenship?” he said.

Asked whether the CAA would be helpful to the BJP politically in Bengal, Majumdar said the “political advantage of the CAA is a byproduct.”

“Yes, it will help us sweep the elections in Bengal. However, the political or electoral advantage of CAA is a by-product. We would have gone ahead with CAA even if it had been detrimental for us politically as it was our commitment in the last manifesto. The CAA was to safeguard the Bengali Hindus from Bangladesh who have been staying in the state for quite a long time,” he said.

Reacting to allegations that CAA has been implemented just ahead of the elections to garner political dividends, Majumdar replied in the negative.

“The CAA has not been notified for some political gains as Mamata Banerjee or other opposition leaders are claiming. It was the commitment during independence by the Congress leaders, which we are fulfilling now,” he said.

Rules of the CAA were notified on March 13, and the government will now start granting Indian nationality to persecuted non-Muslim migrants — Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, and Christians — from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan who arrived in India before December 31, 2014.

Speaking on the opposition by the TMC against the CAA, Majumdar said the Mamata Banerjee-led party is trying to create a fear psychosis among the minorities over the issue.

“The TMC is provoking Muslims and trying to divide the state along communal lines. But let me tell you one thing, the Muslims of the state are also not willing to buy TMC’s theory this time. They have understood the bluff. And no state government can stop a law which has been passed by Parliament,” the 44-year-old BJP leader said.

The Muslims comprise nearly 30 per cent of the electorate, which has been voting for the TMC en-bloc in the last few elections.

Attempting to dispel fears over the NRC, Majumdar said, “NRC has not at all been discussed, so how can we draw conclusions based on what has not happened yet.”

Asked about Muslims being left out of the CAA, Majumdar said there is a clear demarcation between the refugees who have come due to religious persecution and illegal infiltration who have come for better economic conditions.

“Our policy has been clear, for example, regarding the Rohingyas, we have stated that these migrants do not possess a fundamental right to reside in the country,” he said.

Speaking on the issue of the Matua organisation advising its members not to apply for citizenship under the new law for now as many of them do not have documents required to prove their previous residential address in Bangladesh, Majumdar said the “issue has been resolved for the time being.”

While speaking on the poll planks of Bengal BJP, he said, “Corruption and incidents at Sandeshkhali will be the Achilles heels for the TMC.”

“The TMC is running one of the most corrupt governments in the state and with the revelations of Sandeshkhali, it is quite apparent the kind of tyranny that is going on in West Bengal. The people will vote against this misrule of the TMC,” the former professor of Botany said.

The Sandeshkhali region, located on the fringes of the Sundarbans, has been engulfed in turmoil for over a month due to accusations against TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh and his associates of sexual abuse and land usurpation.

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