KOLKATA: Union Minister Shantanu Thakur on Monday said the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) would be implemented in the country within a week.
During an interview with a news channel, Thakur, a BJP MP from Bongaon, an area with the majority of people belonging to the Matua community in West Bengal's North 24 Parganas district, said that swift implementation of the contentious legislation would be made within seven days.
The CAA, enacted by the BJP-led government at the Centre in 2019, aims at granting Indian citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim migrants, including Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians, from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan who entered India before December 31, 2014.
"The CAA will be implemented very soon. It will be implemented within seven days. This is my guarantee," said Thakur, also a leader of the Matua community.
Thakur, the union minister of state for ports, shipping and waterways, has made a similar comment on Sunday.
He has been claiming that the CAA would be implemented in the country ahead of the Lok Sabha polls this year.
Matuas, who constitute a large chunk of the state's Scheduled Caste population, had been migrating to West Bengal since the 1950s, primarily due to religious persecution in erstwhile East Pakistan which later became Bangladesh.
Since the nineties, political parties in West Bengal have actively sought to secure the support of the Matuas, who, due to their significant population and tendency to vote together, are considered a valuable voting bloc akin to the minorities.
The Matua community is believed to benefit the most from the implementation of the CAA.
Thakur's assertion on the CAA's implementation comes amidst reports this month, suggesting that the rules for the legislation would be notified "much before" the announcement of the Lok Sabha elections.
His remarks elicited strong reactions from the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in the state, which has vehemently opposed the CAA, labelling it "divisive".
"Our party supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee have clearly said that CAA won't be implemented in West Bengal.
The BJP leaders are attempting political gimmickry by making such false promises before the Lok Sabha elections," TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said.
Last month, Union Home Minister Amit Shah reiterated that the implementation of CAA is inevitable as it is the law of the land.
During a BJP meeting in Kolkata, he had accused Banerjee of misleading people on the CAA issue The TMC has consistently opposed the CAA, with Banerjee alleging that the BJP is "exploiting" the citizenship issue for political gain.
The promise of implementing the controversial CAA served as a major electoral platform for the BJP in the previous Lok Sabha and assembly polls in West Bengal.
Party leaders believe that it played a pivotal role in the BJP's rise in the state.
According to the manual of parliamentary procedures, the rules for any legislation should have been framed within six months of presidential assent or seek an extension from the committees on subordinate legislation in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.
Since 2020, the Home Ministry has been taking extensions at regular intervals from the parliamentary committees for framing the rules.