Then and now: How Mamata Banerjee’s stand on illegal immigrants changed since 2005

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New Delhi | Updated: August 2, 2018 11:42:42 AM

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is leading the opposition's charge against the Narendra Modi government over the release of the final draft of National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.

Mamata banerjee, NRC draft, Assam NRC draft, Mamata Banerjee Lok Sabha video, Bengladesh immigrants, West Bengal, AssamThen and now: How Mamata Banerjee’s stand on illegal immigrants changed since 2005

Mamata Banerjee’s current stand on the issue of illegal immigrants in wake of the NRC Assam draft is in sharp contrast to her view on the matter when she was not the West Bengal Chief Minister. A 2005 Lok Sabha video of her speech on the matter has become a handy tool for the BJP to target the TMC leader.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is leading the opposition’s charge against the Narendra Modi government over the release of the final draft of National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam. Her remarks have ranged from the NRC exercise being a disaster to stoking fears of a civil war. Speaking at a function in Kolkata, Mamata Banerjee said, “They (BJP) are trying to divide the people. The situation cannot be tolerated. There will be a civil war, bloodbath in the country.”

Cut to the 13 years ago, when the TMC supremo was a member of the Lok Sabha and her party was the principal opposition in West Bengal and you get a totally different picture of the Bengal CM’s stand on the issue. Back in 2005, Mamata had raised the issue of illegal immigrants in West Bengal inside the Parliament. Banerjee, in her capacity as an MP had moved a notice demanding a discussion on the issue which she termed a ‘very serious matter’.

An August 4, 2005 video of Lok Sabha doing the rounds on the internet lately shows Mamata raising the issue on the floor of the Lok Sabha and saying “infiltration into West Bengal has become a disaster now and there were Bangladesh nationals on the voting list”. However, then Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, a leader of CPI(M) – the then ruling party in West Bengal, had not allowed her to raise the issue. Chatterjee was an MP from Bolpur Lok Sabha seat in the Birbhum district.

Banerjee had then accused Chatterjee of being biased and stormed to the Well of the House to lodge her protest. She had even hurled papers at the latter’s deputy and SAD leader Charanjit Singh Atwal. The entire House was stunned to see Mamata’s behaviour. Mamata, who was then an MP from the Kolkata South constituency, had even resigned from her seat. However, her resignation was never accepted by the Speaker because it was not submitted in the right format.

Watch video here:

“Illegal migrants from Bangladesh are also part of the voter list in West Bengal. The state government has done nothing about it. Therefore, the issue must be discussed,” she had said on the floor of the House then.

The video has now turned into a weapon for the BJP to target Mamata over her visible change in stand and accuse her of hypocrisy. Senior BJP Arun Jaitley took to Twitter to slay the TMC chief who has said that the expulsion of 40 lakh people from the NRC list will lead to a ‘civil war’ and ‘bloodbath’ situation in the country.

According to the government’s reply in the Lok Sabha in November 2016, there are around 2 crore illegal Bangladeshi immigrants living in India, mostly in West Bengal and Assam.

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