21 Feb 2024

Why is Mamata Banerjee Attacking Centre over Aadhaar card in West Bengal?

In the midst of the escalating political confrontation between the ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition BJP over the Sandeshkhali incident in West Bengal, the issue of Aadhaar card deactivation is also gaining prominence.

Expressing deep concern, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding this matter. She has reassured affected individuals that the state government will issue alternative cards to ensure continued access to banking and other government services.

Issue linked to CAA & NRC

Mamata has linked this issue to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), labeling it as a well-coordinated effort by the BJP. She vehemently stated that her government will not allow this strategy to succeed under any circumstances.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) has attributed this situation to collusion between the central and state governments. Mohammad Salim, the party's state secretary, asserts that the BJP and Trinamool Congress are working together to instill fear and create a sense of terror before the Lok Sabha elections.

Aadhaar cards deactivated

The controversy began last week when residents in certain areas of the state, including Burdwan, Nadia, and Birbhum districts, received letters from the Ranchi office of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) stating that their Aadhaar cards were being deactivated due to failure to meet residency eligibility criteria.

This led to widespread fear, prompting individuals to contact local authorities who were initially unaware of the situation. In response, Mamata Banerjee instructed the Chief Secretary to establish an online portal for complaints related to this issue and assured residents that the state government would provide alternative cards.

Matua community is opposed to NRC

The matter gained traction when residents in the Matua-dominated area of North 24-Parganas district received similar letters, causing heightened anxiety within this community that is already opposed to the NRC. The Chief Minister held a press conference, accusing the BJP of executing a well-planned strategy and vowing to protect her state from the implementation of the Citizenship Act or NRC.

Mamata Banerjee conveyed in her letter to the Prime Minister that UIDAI's deactivation of hundreds of Aadhaar cards, particularly affecting backward and tribal sections, without prior notice is causing confusion. The Matua community, already concerned about the NRC, is now facing additional uncertainty with the sudden deactivation of Aadhaar cards, which is being linked to efforts to implement the Citizenship Act.

Technical mistake: BJP

While the BJP attributes the issue to a technical mistake, Trinamool Congress continues to criticize and accuse the BJP and the central government of attempting to cancel Aadhaar cards. 

State BJP President Sukant Majumdar said that this problem will be resolved soon. Opposition leader Subhendu Adhikari has also assured that soon all such canceled Aadhaar cards will be activated again.

BJP has criticized Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for playing politics on this issue. Sukant Majmudar alleges that the Chief Minister is making this an issue to divert people's attention from Sandeshkhali.

However, both parties exchange allegations and counter-allegations on the motives behind this development.

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