In Kolkata, the stretch of the arterial Central Avenue that passes from in front of the BJP office was sporadically blocked by supporters who burst firecrackers and played with gulal through the day to celebrate the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
In its newest avatar, the Citizenship Act will be, the BJP claims, its "Brahmastra" in Bengal.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS had reportedly said 60 per cent of the 1.5 crore Hindu refugees who have apparently come into India since 1947 are living in Bengal.
The BJP says it doesn't have exact figures but, yes indeed, the majority. The new act will end their troubles, and, the BJP hopes, the rule of the Trinamool in the state.
BJP General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who went to Shyama Prasad Mukherjee's house this morning to garland his statue, said, "For Bengal, this bill signals a huge political parivartan. It is the victory of the BJP, it is the victory of the Matua community, the Namasudras, the Rajbanshis and all the displaced people who are refugees here. And it is the biggest defeat ever for Mamata Banerjee and TMC."
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has not said a word after the passage of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. But the Trinamool has confirmed she has called for a meeting of district chiefs, MLAs and MPs on December 20 at party headquarters at 4 pm to discuss Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and the National Register of Citizens or NRC.
Any doubt that Bengal is in the BJP's crosshairs was dispelled last evening when a BJP MP, without naming any state, said, some chief ministers are saying they will not allow NRC and asked if CAB was for all of India. Home Minister Amit Shah was unequivocal. "NRC will be done in all states," he said, adding with emphasis, "including Bengal."
The Q and A was possibly triggered by Mamata Banerjee's strident reiteration as recently as Monday that there would be no Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or NRC in Bengal.
"Don't be scared. Do your work well. And those men with headbands who come and say divide the country, tell them there is no place in Bengali culture for the men with headbands. Do not be scared of NRC. Do not be scared of CAB. We are with you. Let me tell you, till we are here, now one will be able to impose anything on you," she said on Monday at Kharagpur.
The collision course is set. Today there was anger when Congressmen marched past the BJP office. Last evening, a Mamata Banerjee minister who also heads Jamaat-e-Ulema Hind in Bengal drew the battle lines.
"Is he a guardian of Muslims? Are we staying here on the home minister's charity? We accept this challenge. We are not living here thanks to BJP RSS. This is our country. By birth we are Indian. Who has any authority to evict any one? What they have done in Assam is one thing. In Bengal, if they enforce things, they should be prepared to face blows. The land here is not so soft they can do anything they want," Siddiqullah Chowdhury said.
He announced protests on Friday and a mega rally in Kolkata on December 22.