A special session of the West Bengal Assembly has been summoned at 2 pm on January 27 to pass a resolution to scrap the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act or CAA. This will make Bengal the third state to do so after Kerala and Punjab.
The formal announcement came 24 hours after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said such a resolution would be passed "within three-four days". Her announcement took the CPM and the Congress by surprise as she had rejected the opposition bid to pass an anti-CAA resolution in the house on January 9.
At the Assembly that day, Mamata Banerjee had also declared she would not attend the Opposition meet called by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on January 13. This, because she could not support "the politics of violence by the Congress and the CPM in Bengal" on the day of the all India bandh called by trade unions.
The CPM and the Congress in Bengal had attacked Mamata Banerjee saying she was breaking up opposition unity against the CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) at the behest of the BJP.
Referring to these charges, Partha Chatterjee, Trinamool minister for parliamentary affairs, said, "Some have commented on the chief minister's decision. But we want to save democracy. Those targeting Mamata Banerjee must understand that by doing so they are only strengthening the hands of the BJP."
He appealed to the Congress and the CPM to support the anti-CAA resolution on January 27.
But even today, Congress MP Adhir Chowdhury took a dig at the Trinamool chief saying, "Better late than never." CPM MLA Sujan Chakraborty said, "Government must put on record that we had admitted an anti-CAA resolution on 9 January. Now, after Kerala and Punjab, it is suddenly being done here."
"We had also submitted a resolution against CAA on January 9 but that day the Assembly had been called for a specific reason and the resolution could not be brought up," Mr Chatterjee said.
"We had submitted our proposal yesterday to the speaker. We feel there is an effort to spread confusion. Who submitted the resolution first or second, who won or who lost is not important as long as people win," Mr Chatterjee added.
Mamata Banerjee will march in Darjeeling tomorrow against the CAA and the NRC.
There have also been calls by the Congress and the CPM in Bengal for Ms Banerjee to go to Supreme Court against CAA like the Kerala government has.
The Citizenship Amendment Act makes religion, for the first time, the test of Indian citizenship. The government says it will help non-Muslim refugees from three Muslim-dominated neighbouring countries if they fled to India because of religious persecution. Critics say the bill discriminates against Muslims and violates secular tenets of the Constitution.