Union Home Minister and BJP President Amit Shah would endeavour to allay the rising fear among the people, particularly the party's core Hindu voters, about the National Register of Citizens (NRC), and inaugurate a community Durga Puja on Tuesday (1 October) during his first visit to the Kolkata city after joining the Union cabinet.
A high point of Shah's trip would be the likely crossing over of senior Trinamool Congress leader and former Bidhannagar municipality Mayor Sabyasachi Dutta to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a move which could bolster the saffron outfit's strength in the city's north east fringes of Rajarhat and Salt Lake.
The main function, however, would be the citizens' convention on the NRC at the Netaji Indoor Stadium, especially in the backdrop of the panic seen across West Bengal about a possible NRC exercise and fears that people may be rendered homeless like the 1.9 million people who could not make it to the list in Assam.
Over the past few days, there have been overnight queues before panchayat and civic offices, block administrative buildings, post offices and banks with people making a mad rush to procure and rectify documents which they feel would help them see through any future NRC project in the state.
At least 11 people have died in the state so far -- some of them taking their own lives out of panic and depression at not having, what they thought, the right documents.
During his extensive Lok Sabha poll campaign in the state earlier this year, Shah had declared umpteen times that the BJP would come out with an NRC if it came to power in Bengal, and drive away the infiltrators.
Recently, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said that two crore infiltrators from Bengal had entered the state from Bangladesh.
Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee has seized the issue, and is almost on a daily basis referring to it as a BJP propaganda that has "made people panicky".
She and other Trinamool leaders are also losing no opportunity to point out that over 12 lakh poeple among those left out of the final NRC list in Assam are Hindus.
"Shah in his address at the convention would give us the guideline for carrying out an awareness campaign on the NRC among the people.
"He is likely to highlight that any NRC exercise will be preceded by the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, by which minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan like Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Christians would be treated as refugees and given shelter and citizenship in India," said a BJP leader.
This, BJP leaders hope, would go a long way in assuring the Hindus that they have nothing to fear from any future NRC exercise.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
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