TMC refugee cell workshop
The refugee cell of the Trinamul Congress organised a workshop against the amended citizenship act at Nadia’s Cooper’s Camp on Friday as part of preparations for Mamata Banerjee’s public meetings in Bongaon and Ranaghat.
“The first such state-level workshop was held at Cooper’s Camp under the Ranaghat South Assembly segment, where all residents are rehabilitated refugees,” a source said.
Cooper’s Camp has several rehabilitated refugee colonies, where the residents were given land rights last year as part of the Trinamul government’s attempts to woo refugees from Bangladesh settled in India for years.
In Nadia’s 10 refugee-dominated Assembly segments, Trinamul’s refugee cell has decided to complete organising such training-cum-workshops before February 4 when the chief minister will address a rally in Ranaghat town.
A source said the objective behind the workshop was to train party workers so that they could undertake door-to-door campaigns against the new citizenship matrix in refugee-dominated areas to counter the growing influence of the BJP.
Trinamul’s refugee cell president Mukul Bairagya said there were at least 121 Assembly segments in Bengal where refugees are a decisive factor. “Our objective is to clear our stand before them so that they are not misled by the BJP’s propaganda,” Bairagya said before adding that 121 workshops would be held.
The BJP has been trying to cash in on the refugee vote bank, particularly that of the Matuas, claiming that their long-awaited demand for citizenship can only be materialised through the CAA.
The promise has yielded political dividends to the BJP as a significant portion of the community has swung in favour of the BJP, which helped the party win two Matua-dominated Lok Sabha seats — Ranaghat and Bongaon — last year.
Now Trinamul is trying to win them back.
“There are at least 50 lakh refugee voters scattered across at least 14 districts in the state. In about 43 Assembly segments in Nadia and North 24-Parganas, they form around 45 per cent of the electorate. We will try to reach out to them to advice them that they should not appeal for citizenship as proposed by the new amendment of the Act,” Bairagya said.
“We will make them realise that making an appeal would be a sort of self-declaration as an outsider. We will warn the refugees against falling into the BJP’s trap.”
The refugee wing of Trinamul has decided to train 1,000 workers as resource persons from each refugee-dominated Assembly segment so that they can take up the party’s campaign against the CAA.