Senior BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya, on Sunday (December 6) said the Centre was “most likely” to implement CAA in Bengal in January or February next year.

Vijayvargiya said at a programme organised at Esplanade to observe the 65th death anniversary of B R Ambedkar, “Most probably from January, the process of granting citizenship to all the people who are refugees will be started by the BJP government. These people have come from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan after facing religious persecution. They have sought refuge in our country. The BJP government will grant citizenship to all such people. The Centre has honest intentions to grant citizenship to persecuted refugees who have come to India from neighbouring countries.”

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Reacting to Vijayvargiya’s comment, senior TMC leader and state minister Firhad Hakim said that the BJP is trying to fool the people of West Bengal.

Last month, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said during his visit to the state that the implementation of the CAA was just a matter of time. BJP national president JP Nadda had made similar comments the month before.

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A section of the state BJP leadership is apprehensive that delaying the implementation of the new citizenship law might turn the community against it. Last month, BJP MP Santanu Thakur said he would write to Shah, requesting him to quickly implement the law in Bengal to ensure that Matuas get citizenship rights. Thakur is a member of the community.

Matuas have been migrating to West Bengal since the 1950s, mostly because of religious persecution. The community, with an estimated population of three million in the state, influences at least four Lok Sabha seats and 30-40 Assembly seats in Nadia, North and South 24 Parganas districts.