KOLKATA: BJP national working president JP Nadda on Monday kicked off a massive rally in the city in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Nadda was accompanied by senior BJP leaders, including West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh and national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya. The march commenced from Hind cinema in central Kolkata and will culminate at Shyambazar.
The issue of CAA has been a major flashpoint in Bengal politics, with Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee declaring that it will not be implemented in the state. The state had witnessed violent protests and arson against the Citizenship Act and the proposed nationwide implementation of NRC during December 13-17.
The Matuas and Namashudras -- (lower caste Hindus) who migrated to West Bengal from East Pakistan and later Bangladesh as refugees -- were present in strength at the rally, and are expected to be "formally given citizenship after the passing of the Act". Sikhs and Muslims too were present at the rally.
Anti-Mamata slogans heard in rally
Thousands of workers raised incessant slogans, many of them targeted at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
There were thousands of posters and banners supporting CAA and running down Banerjee and the state's Trinamool Congress, but the most raucous sloganeering was targeted at the Chief Minister.
"Didi (elder sister - as Banerjee is called) tumi chole jao, Pakistane chole jao (didi you please go, to Pakistan you go)," "Ei Mamata dekhe ja, BJP-r khamata (Didi come and see, BJP's ability you must see)", found great resonance among the participants, particularly youths and students who were in a majority.
Lending colour to the rally, 15 tableaux were positioned highlighting various aspects of the CAA to create public awareness on the issue.
Some of the tableaux tried to bring out the 'doublespeak' of Banerjee "who had so loudly raised in the Rajya Sabha the issue of infiltration from Bangladesh in 2005, only to do a volte-face now for the sake of her vote bank," a BJP leader said.