BJP hopes to cash in on Citizenship Bill in Bengal

With the Lok Sabha polls approaching, the West Bengal BJP hopes to cash in on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill to reach out to the one crore odd Hindu Bangladeshi refugees in the state once the bill is implemented.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8, seeks to grant Indian citizenship to the non-Muslims who fled religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and entered India before December 31, 2014.

According to a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, the bill will not only endear them to the Hindu refugees in the state but will also help them counter the allegation of being an "anti-Bengali" party.

The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and several opposition parties in the state had levelled the saffron party as "anti-Bengali", following the publication of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) drafts in Assam last year.

Mohit Roy, convenor of the BJP's refugee cell, told that the bill would change the future of the one crore Bengali refugees living in West Bengal.

"Various political parties have played with the emotions of the Bengali refugees living in the state for the past several decades. Neither the TMC nor the CPI(M), which boast of being champions of refugees, did nothing for the Bengali refugees. It is (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi and the BJP which will give them citizenship. This is a historic decision," he said.