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Citizenship started with CAA, Modi government took a big bet amid elections, what will be the benefit?

New Delhi : After winning the last Lok Sabha elections, the first two major decisions taken by the Narendra Modi government were neutralizing Article 370 and enacting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). In December 2019 itself, the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) was passed by both the houses of the Parliament. Violent and aggressive demonstrations took place against him in many parts of the country including the capital Delhi. Perhaps it was the effect of those violent protests or some special strategy of the Modi government, there was silence on this matter for 4 years after the law was made by the Parliament. When will it come into effect? What will be the rules? Has it been shelved forever? The answer to all these questions was found just before the Lok Sabha elections when on March 11, 2014, the Modi government finally implemented CAA across the country. It is clear from its timing that BJP wanted to capitalize on this issue in the elections. Now when voting has been done for 4 out of 7 phases of Lok Sabha elections, then one day suddenly the certificates of citizenship under CAA also started being distributed. On May 15, the Union Home Secretary gave certificates of Indian citizenship to 14 refugees. A total of 300 applicants across the country were given citizenship certificates. Will BJP benefit from this exercise amid elections? Let us understand.election issue
CAA is a big election issue this time. The heat of this issue is being felt the most in West Bengal. The CM and TMC Chief Mamata Banerjee is continuously making aggressive statements against CAA in her election rallies. She has also said many times that she will never allow CAA to be implemented in West Bengal. Now with the beginning of granting citizenship under CAA, this issue will become more heated. On the other hand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also bluntly saying that no matter what anyone does, he will not be able to remove CAA.

PM Modi on Thursday accused the opposition of spreading lies about CAA and giving it a Hindu-Muslim color by doing vote bank politics. At the election rally in Azamgarh, UP, Modi said, ‘The people of the country now know that by vote bank politics and conflict between Hindus and Muslims, you have allowed the country to burn in the fire of communalism for more than 60 years. You are wearing the garb of secularism but Modi has exposed your truth. Do whatever you want but you will never be able to remove CAA. By the way, the government has repeatedly had to clarify on the issue of CAA that this is a law to give citizenship, not to take it away. This will give citizenship to the persecuted religious minorities of neighboring countries, but it will not give away the citizenship of any Indian. CAA was also at the center of the riots in the country’s capital Delhi in 2020. Since then, the Modi government has been repeatedly warning the minorities regarding CAA that they should not fall prey to anyone’s words, as this will not pose any threat to the citizenship of any Indian.

What is CAA?
Under the Citizenship Amendment Act i.e. CAA, refugees from six religious minority communities (Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians) who were victims of atrocities and persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh will get Indian citizenship. This citizenship will be given to those refugees who had come to India before 31 December 2014. Opponents of CAA argue against it that it is discriminatory on religious grounds because Muslims are not kept within its scope. At the same time, the Modi government has been arguing that Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are Muslim countries, hence Muslims cannot become victims of religious persecution there. The same argument was given by the government in the debate held in Parliament in December 2019.

impact in bengal
The biggest impact of CAA will be in West Bengal only. After its implementation, the Matua community there celebrated a lot. The Matua community are Hindu Dalits and the sect was started by Harichand Thakur in 1860 in undivided Bengal (now Bangladesh). The population of Matua community is healthy in Bengal. According to some media reports, the population of this community in the state is around 3 crores. This huge number itself shows his political importance. After independence and partition of the country in 1947, a large number of people of Matua community came to West Bengal from East Pakistan (Bangladesh). During the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, a large number of Hindus migrated from the then East Pakistan and took refuge in West Bengal. Many of them are still searching for Indian citizenship. For such people, CAA is no less than a boon. However, there are some practical problems on the ground. In fact, under the CAA, refugees are required to present documents as proof of their nationality while applying for citizenship. They have to prove through documents that they are citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan. Many such refugees do not have documents to prove their nationality because at the time of migration they somehow managed to save their lives and came to India.

How does BJP benefit?
BJP can benefit from the way its opponents are opposing CAA. The stronger the opposition to CAA, the greater the possibility of polarization. Apart from this, BJP is also trying to give this message to its core voters through this that it is giving citizenship to those Hindus who were victims of atrocities in neighboring countries, who were waiting for it for years or even decades. Ever since the Citizenship Amendment Bill was approved by both the Houses of Parliament in December 2019, its implementation was awaited. It came into effect after about 4 and a half years, just before the elections. And under this, the grant of citizenship started in the middle of elections. Obviously BJP is hoping to benefit from this.

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