Union Minister Amit Shah to hold pro-CAA rally in Odisha today

During the EZC meeting here on Friday, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee would meet Shah for the first time after the enactment of CAA

New Delhi: Home Minister Amit Shah will address a rally at the Janata Maidan in Odisha’s Bhubaneshwar on Friday in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act. He will be addressing rally days after parts of Delhi observed widespread violence over the citizenship law.

Shah will attend the rally after chairing a meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council (EZC), which will be attended by four chief ministers, including Mamata Banerjee, a critic of CAA, the National Population Register (NPR) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, who will also be present in Bhubaneshwar on Friday for the EZC meet, have backed the CAA, both have made clear that they are against the NRC.

The Bihar assembly has passed a resolution stating that NRC is not needed in the state, making it the first NDA-ruled state to categorically say no to the NRC and to seek the removal of controversial clauses from the census exercise.

The Biju Janata Dal in Odisha has also sought removal of some contentious clauses from the NPR exercise.

Odisha state BJP president Samir Mohanty said the rally to be addressed by Shah was part of his party’s nationwide awareness program on CAA undertaken in January following protests by the opposition against the amended law.

Some Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan, Babul Supriyo and Giriraj Singh and BJP Rajya Sabha MP Rupa Ganguli have already held public meetings counting virtues of CAA in different places of Odisha including Cuttack, Berhampur, Sambalpur, and Jeypore.

Apart from organizing awareness campaigns and rallies on the CAA in all organizational districts of Odisha, BJP workers have congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah by sending postcard messages.

On Wednesday Mohanty had flagged off a fleet of campaign vehicles whose purpose is to inform people about the rally.

State BJP spokesperson Golak Mohapatra said that the Congress and some other political parties were trying to mislead people on the CAA and Friday’s public meeting was aimed at making it clear that law is in the national interest.

However, a senior state Congress leader slammed at the BJP for organizing the rally and said that before counting the positive of CAA, Shah should first restore normalcy in Delhi where communal violence has so far claimed 39 lives.

Congress MLA Suresh Routray said at a time when the national capital was witnessing bloodshed over CAA, Shah should be in Delhi to ensure peace there instead of visiting Odisha. “What will Shah tell the people in Odisha? He should stay in Delhi and do the needful at a time when the national capital is burning,”.

The BJD also took a jibe at the pro-CAA rally to be addressed by Shah. BJD spokesperson PK Deb said such awareness exercise should have been done much before amending the citizenship law.

During the EZC meeting here on Friday, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee would meet Shah for the first time after the enactment of CAA. But it is not clear whether she would have a one-on-one meeting with Shah.

Banerjee has visited the Jagannath Temple in Puri on Wednesday said that India is known for peace and harmony.

According to sources, apart from attending the EZC meeting and the pro-CAA rally, Shah will also meet state BJP leaders to discuss strategies for strengthening the party in Odisha.

Shah is scheduled to visit the Jagannath Temple in Puri and Lord Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar on the concluding day of his Odisha visit on February 29.

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