West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said she told Prime Minister Narendra Modi to rethink on the issue of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019 and urged him to withdraw the contentious act, the proposed National Register for Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register.
Banerjee who met Modi briefly at the Raj Bhavan in Kolkata on Saturday then arrived at a sit-in organised by Trinamool Congress students' wing against the CAA and the proposed NRC.
Taking centre stage among the agitating students who raised slogans against the amended Citizenship Act and the NRC, the TMC supremo said that she told the prime minister that the CAA will not be implemented in West Bengal.
"We do not accept the notification issued by the government," she told demonstrators at the Rani Rashmoni Road in Kolkata, a few metres away from Raj Bhavan.
"The CAA is anti-constitutional. We can't allow citizenship based on religion. The CAA notification will be only on paper, it will never be implemented. We would not allow it," Banerjee said during a dharna against CAA. "We do not accept NRC. We do not accept CAA," she reiterated.
The Centre on Friday, in a gazette notification, announced that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act will come into force from January 10.
She said those who are in power at the centre should not do whatever they feel like just because they have the majority (in Parliament).
"Those who are yet to understand the situation must wake up now. There is no point in sleeping while keeping your eyes open," she said at the rally.
Banerjee also said that the peaceful movement against CAA and NRC will continue in West Bengal.
Earlier, during a one-on-one meeting with Modi, Banerjee demanded that both the CAA and NRC should be withdrawn.
Banerjee termed her meeting with the prime minister as a "courtesy visit" and said she has raised issues regarding the due financial assistance that the state is yet to receive from the Centre.
"It was a courtesy meeting. I told him about Rs 28,000 crore that the state is yet to receive from the Centre. Including Rs 7000 crore, we are supposed to get for the cyclone Fani.
"I acquainted him that we are against CAA, NPR and NRC. I also told him that protest is going on across the country against CAA, NRC and NPR.
"I told him that there should not be any discrimination among masses and no citizens should be left out or tortured. I asked him that the Centre should rethink on the issues and withdraw CAA," she said.
When asked what PM Modi said in reply, the TMC supremo said, "regarding the matter related to states, he said he will look into the documents and about these issues (CAA, NRC and NPR), he said he has come for a few government programmes. So if there is an opportunity he would speak on the subjects in New Delhi".
The meeting assumes importance as it is the first between the two leaders since protests erupted over the Citizenship Amendment Act in various cities across the country. The Trinamool Congress chief is at loggerheads with the BJP-led government over the Citizenship Amendment Act and she led several protests against CAA and NPR in her state.
However, she decided to stay away from the 13 January meeting of the Opposition parties convened by the Congress to protest against the Act over the "violence" by the Left and the Congress during the 24-hour general strike on Wednesday.
The meeting between Modi and Banerjee drew sharp reactions from Congress and CPM, which said Trinamool Congress' "double standard" is now exposed.
"Mamata Banerjee and TMC are now exposed. We have been saying this for a long time that TMC is a B Team of BJP in Bengal.
"Now it has been proved. She doesn't want to fight BJP, rather she is helping the saffron camp in the state. This match-fixing is going on between both the parties," CPI(M) politburo member Mohammed Salim said.
West Bengal Congress president Somen Mitra too echoed Salim's views and said people of the state would "give a befitting reply to Banerjee for betraying their trust".
The Trinamool Congress leadership refuted claims of "political match-fixing" and said the meeting between the two leaders was just a government-to-government meeting.
"Let's get this straight. Today's meeting is government-to-government. And Trinamool Congress don't need certificates from anyone. We started this movement & now it is a peoples movement.
"How many processions have you walked in? How many protests have you led? Stop giving advice sitting on a sofa," TMC leader in the Rajya Sabha Derek O' Brien said in a statement hitting out at the rivals.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Jan 12, 2020 08:33:54 IST