Modi says CAA not anti-Muslim, flays opposition for hypocrisy - GulfToday

Modi says CAA not anti-Muslim, flays opposition for hypocrisy


Narendra Modi waves to supporters at a rally in New Delhi on Sunday. Associated Press

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday flayed the opposition parties for their alleged hypocrisy in opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

“Citizenship Act doesn’t apply to any Indians - be it Hindu or Muslim. It applies to the refugees from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he said. Invoking Mahatma Gandhi, Modi made his point but not without taking a sharp dig at the Gandhi family.

At a rally at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan, Modi said those who previously supported the idea are opposing it today. He minced no words while taking potshots at the Congress, Left parties and the TMC for apparently shifting stance on the issue.

On Sunday, Modi spoke at length on the CAA as he kicked off the BJP’s election campaign for the soon to be announced Delhi assembly elections.

He clarified that the CAA is not meant for Indian citizens but for the refugees from the minority communities in Muslim-majority neighbours like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

He cornered the opposition over the CAA and gave a clear indication about the BJP’s firm intentions on going forward with the law.

The Prime Minister recalled how, a few years ago, former prime minister Manmohan Singh had supported the idea of giving refuge to Hindus and other minorities from Bangladesh.

“If the Congress can support Manmohan Singh, why is it a crime if I propose it?” he said.

He also recalled that Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot who in his previous term had supported the idea of granting citizenship to Hindus and Sikhs.

“Why is he silent now?” After the Congress, it was the Left parties to face Modi’s fire on the CAA. Modi recollected that Prakash Karat had also supported the idea of giving citizenship to Hindus from Bangladesh and Pakistan in the past.

Modi also targeted West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on her changed stand on the CAA. She used to take up the issue of Bangladeshi infiltrators a few years ago in the Parliament but now she is vehemently opposing the idea.

“What happened that you have changed didi?” Modi questioned.

Modi also scoffed at the noises being made over the NRC. “Even the NRC was mooted by the Congress not by me,” he said.

Amid the strident voices opposing the CAA, and outbreak of violence in Delhi and other parts of the country, the Prime Minister had remained silent on the issue so far. His speech on Sunday was uncompromising on the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Modi on Sunday chose to start his speech with an unusual chant, “Vividhta me ekta, Bharat ke visheshta” (Unity in diversity is India’s speciality).

Though the focus of the rally was the upcoming Delhi Assembly election where the BJP’s state unit drummed up the fact that the Centre regularised illegal colonies that benefitted thousands, Modi chose it to be the platform to answer the raging opposition against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

On Sunday, Modi was at his aggressive best when he referred to certain opposition parties as “remote control” behind the current anti-CAA agitation.

“There’s no discussion on NRC... Some educated urban Naxals are spreading this rumour that all Muslims will be sent to detention centres. ‘Ye jhhut hai, ye jhhut hai, ye jhhut hai’ (These are lies),” he said.

Needless to say, BJP put its best bet forward and hopes to use his image to win Delhi election, where it was decimated by AAP in the last polls.

Though Modi’s focus largely remained the opposition parties and their alleged flip flops on the Citizenship Amendment Act, Modi had done one thing that most in the BJP failed to: Unite the entire Delhi BJP unit.

Several thousand people took part in Modi’s rally where he accused the opposition of distorting facts to trigger protests.

“The law does not impact 1.3 billions Indians, and I must assure Muslim citizens of India that this law will not change anything for them,” said Modi, adding that his government introduces reforms without any religious bias.

“We have never asked anyone if they go to a temple or a mosque when it comes to implementing welfare schemes,” he said.


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