Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday advised West Bengal chief minister Mamata to place her trust in the people of her state as he questioned her demand to approach the United Nations on the new citizenship law.
Mamata Banerjee had Thursday demanded a referendum under the supervision of the global body to find out if people wanted Citizenship Amendment Act while addressing a rally of her Trinamool Congress’ youth and student wing members in Kolkata.
“A few years ago, she was pleading before Parliament that infiltrators coming from Bangladesh should be stopped. Didi, what has happened to you now? Why have you changed? Why are you spreading rumours? Elections come and go. People get power and are thrown out. Why are you scared?” the Prime Minister asked during the Aabhar Rally in Delhi Ramlila Maidan.
“Trust the people of Bengal. Why do you think the citizens of Bengal are your enemies?” he asked.
Mamata Banerjee’s demand had prompted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to react sharply and even Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar to issue a series of tweets, urging Banerjee to withdraw her statement. She had later said her comments were misread.
“What I meant was that let there be an opinion poll on CAA and NRC by experts and let the UN observe it. I said let the human rights commission also look into this. My statement is being misinterpreted. I don’t want to react to what the BJP is saying. Whenever they cannot digest something they say we are anti-nationals,” Banerjee had said.
She is among the eight chief ministers, including Kerala’s Pinarayi Vijayan, Madhya Pradesh’s Kamal Nath, Chhattisgarh’s Bhupesh Baghel and Punjab’s Amarinder Singh, who is campaigning against changes in the citizenship law and declared that they may not implement it.
On Friday, she had appealed to Prime Minister Modi to personally intervene and stop the violence, during which dozens of protesters have died across the country.
The highest number of deaths have been reported from Uttar Pradesh in protests that have taken place in the aftermath of this month’s passage of CAA, which seeks to fast-track the grant of Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Parsi in the Muslim-majority countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.