West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said she had not called for a UN-monitored referendum over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, but demanded an opinion poll over the issue.
Addressing a press meet, Banerjee, who is also the TMC supremo, said, "I am proud of my country... I have full faith in my countrymen. What I had said was that a gana vote (opinion poll) be conducted by a panel of impartial experts and members of the National Human Rights Commission. It can be observed by the UN."
Banerjee had on Thursday dared the Narendra Modi government to go for a UN-monitored referendum on the amended citizenship act and the proposed nationwide NRC . She said the prime minister would have to quit if it fails in the "mass vote".
"Let there be a nationwide gana vote on CAA and NRC in India. You (Modi government) will not do it. The United Nations will do it, an impartial organisation--let them play a very important role. Make a committee of experts like the UN and (National) Human Rights Commission," the chief minister said at a public rally on Thursday.
Banerjee's comments drew sharp reactions from BJP leaders.
Union Minister Smriti Irani said, "The comment (made by Banerjee) is an insult to Indian Parliament. The legislation has been passed by the Parliament."
She added that state governments should take strict actions against people who are helping violent elements.
On being asked to comment on Smriti Irani's remark, Banerjee said, "Tell Smriti Irani to send a (police) van from Delhi."
Banerjee also sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention to ensure that the CAA was immediately revoked, contending that it was a matter of the country's interests.
"It is not about any political victory or defeat. It is matter of our country... Withdraw CAA and NRC," she said in her appeal to Modi.
However, attacking the BJP-led government, she said, "They (the Centre) will make another dictionary, history, define geographies and intellectuals. They will decide what we will eat, our dress code, where we will live, who they will chase out--the list is too long."
The chief minister, who has been vocally opposing the CAA and NRC and holding protest rallies, said that rumours were being spread about Section 144 being imposed in Kolkata and other places. "Only a few districts and pockets where restrictions were there and we are withdrawing that too," she said.
(With inputs from PTI)