Kolkata: Throwing a challenge to Centre’s ruling BJP, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday called for a UN-conducted referendum across the country on Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) and said that the Narendra Modi government would have to resign if the people rejected the two.
“If you have the guts, let there be a referendum across the country on CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019) and NRC (National Register of Citizens) issues. You won’t conduct it, it will be conducted by the United Nations – an impartial organisation.
“Let them play a very important role. Let there be a committee of experts of UN, human rights. Neither the Trinamool, nor BJP nor any other parties will be there.
“None of the communities like Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, will be there,” she said while addressing a Trinamool Congress protest meeting against CAA and NRC in central Kolkata.
Banerjee said she would like to see how many people say yes, and how many say no.
“If you lose, you have to resign. This is a challenge,” she said.
On a day the protests escalated across India, Banerjee said it was a struggle for everybody’s existence and prophesied that the movement would gather steam with every passing day.
Pointing to the prohibitory orders issued in many parts of India, she said, “We will resist all these. Don’t think we are weak. The movement will gather steam with each passing day. You cannot stop the movement with your guns, agency.”
“This is not a communal movement, but a movement for your rights, democracy, humanity. People never sacrifice their existence. This is a struggle for everybody’s existence,” she said.
Banerjee urged everybody to hit the streets across India irrespective of their political affiliation and religion.
“Don’t sit idle,” she said.
Claiming that people were asked to furnish birth certificates of their parents during the NRC process in Assam that concluded earlier this year, Banerjee mocked the BJP saying it was itself born only in 1980. “And they are asking people to produce documents dating back to the 1970s, 1960s or 1950s, or even earlier.
“Where was the BJP before Independence. Neither did they participate in freedom movement, nor helped in building the nation. Now they are dividing the nation, and pitting people against one another,” she said.
Coming down heavily on the Modi government, she said it thinks the country has to run as per its writ as the party has been in power for over five years.
“If a political party decides who can or can’t stay in the country, and who can be citizen, that’s wrong”.
Calling the BJP shameless for trying to turn the anti-CAA protests into a Hindu versus Muslim issue, she described the movement as a democratic one, covering the entire country, and taking everybody together.