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CAA an overused political tool, says Sushmita Dev

People are absolutely fed up with politics of fear and tyranny: TMC MP

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SILCHAR, April 21: Senior Trinamool Congress leader Sushmita Dev claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is an “overused political tool that stands exposed for its “ineffectiveness”.

In an interview with PTI, the Rajya Sabha MP alleged that a lot of Hindus were excited when CAA was passed in Parliament but now it has become “khoda pahar nikla chuha” (much ado about nothing) as people are being asked to submit passports and school certificates of Bangladesh.

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Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, while campaigning for the polls, has alleged that the anti-CAA stir in Assam is “based on lies”, and those who led it will be answerable to the people.

“After bringing the law, the BJP-led Centre kept it hanging for four years as an ineffective piece of legislation and now they have made it an almost impossible option (for people) due to its rules and regulations,” the former Silchar MP said.

“During the updation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, we Bengali Hindus had to prove that we are Indians by submitting Indian school certificates and other documents but in CAA, we are being asked to submit documents from Bangladesh,” she alleged.

“The CAA, therefore, stands exposed… it is an overused political tool which is going nowhere,” Dev said.

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CAA rules were notified on March 11, over four years after it was enacted on December 11, 2019. It seeks to grant Indian nationality to persecuted Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi and Christian immigrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who sought shelter in India before December 31, 2014.

The TMC MP said that price rise is a major issue in polls, and people are “absolutely fed up with politics of fear and tyranny”.

“You cannot write freely on social media, you cannot speak out against the government… anger and frustration are growing. Contrary to the surveys that have come out, I believe people of the country are not happy with the current regime and a churning is underway in the entire nation,” she claimed.

Dev said that it was not possible for BJP to achieve its target of 400 seats as “the saffron party has reached its saturation point”.

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“They are creating hype… I don’t think they are going to cross the 200 mark. I hope I am right otherwise the country is in danger,” she said.

Accusing the BJP of “practically finishing” Bengali Hindus and Muslims of Barak Valley in southern Assam through neglect, she said the TMC’s slogan, hence, is “fight for your dignity”.

The TMC is contesting four Lok Sabha seats in Assam, including Silchar, where Dev asserted that “people are looking for an alternative”.

Dev said that TMC supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee recently addressing a rally in Silchar in support of party candidate Radheshyam Biswas sent out a clear message that she has “serious electoral interest” in Assam.

In the Silchar Lok Sabha seat, anti-incumbency against the BJP is high and people view TMC as a fresh option, the former MP who had represented the seat from 2014 to 2019 before losing the previous elections, claimed.

Dev said Silchar has a history of deprivation in the last few decades, with the level varying from the days of the Congress to that of the BJP.

She claimed that unemployment, lack of infrastructure and poor connectivity with the rest of Assam and also with neighbouring states are major poll planks in the two Barak Valley constituencies of Silchar and Karimganj.

On the party’s plans for the 2026 assembly elections in Assam, she said, “In this Lok Sabha polls, we are contesting only four of the 14 seats in the state. So we are calling it a trailer. If all goes well, although I don’t want to sound overconfident, we aim to give candidates in more than half of the total number of assembly seats.”

Even Mamata Banerjee had said in the meeting that “this is a trailer, wait for the final, which means we will hoist the TMC flag in Assam”, Dev asserted.

Assam has a 126-member assembly, where TMC does not have any representation. (PTI)

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