In the face of raging countrywide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday asserted emphatically that there would be no rethink on the new law enacted by Parliament.
He said steps such as enacting the CAA and removing the special status of Jammu and Kashmir were necessary in the national interest, and were taken despite pressure from all sides. His government, Modi told a public meeting during a day-long visit to his Lok Sabha constituency, was taking decisions which had always been avoided.
“Mahadev ke aashirvaad se desh aaj wo faisle bhi le raha hai jo hamesha pichhe chhod diye jaate the. Jammu-Kashmir se Article 370 hatane ka faisla ho, ya phir Citizenship Amendment Act, barson se desh ko in faislon ka intezaar tha. Desh hith main yeh faisle zaroori the. Aur duniya bhar ke saarey dabao ke bawjood in faislon par hum qayam hain aur qayam rahenge (With the blessings of Lord Shiva, the country is now taking decisions that were always left behind. Be it the scrapping of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir or the Citizenship Amendment Act, the country had been waiting for these decisions for years. These decisions were necessary in the interest of the nation. In spite of pressure from all over the world, we remain firm on these decisions, and will continue to remain firm),” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister’s assertion came days after his party was defeated in the Assembly elections in Delhi, the campaign for which saw a highly charged debate on the CAA and the protests at Shaheen Bagh, where a group of women, supported by a cross-section of society, have been holding a sit-in for two months now. Since the passage of the CAA in December last year, hundreds of thousands of protesters have come out in the streets in cities and towns across India, taking the government by surprise.
Modi claimed his government was working for the poor, and was improving the life of the last individual standing in line. Previous governments, Modi said, had paid no attention to the problems of people in the last rows because their “political interests would be served not by resolving issues but by complicating them”.
“But the situation is changing now,” he said. “The country is changing. The person in the last row is now being given top priority.”
Listing out key decisions taken by his government, Modi also referred to the trust set up for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, and asserted that it would work without losing any time. “A trust has been formed for the construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya. This trust will work rapidly.” Work on the construction of “Ram dham” would proceed with speed, he said, adding that the government had decided to transfer the entire 67 acres of land in Ayodhya to the trust.
During the visit, the Prime Minister either launched or laid the foundation stones for 36 projects worth Rs 1,254 crore in his constituency. He also flagged off by video link IRCTC’s Maha Kaal Express, the country’s first overnight private train that will connect the pilgrimage centres of Varanasi, Ujjain, and Omkareshwar.
Modi unveiled the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Memorial on campus at the Sugarcane Development Research Institute. He said Upadhyay had shown India the path of “antyodaya”, and that future generations would continue to be inspired by his thoughts. “I believe that Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay’s soul, wherever it is, it keeps giving us belssings. It constantly gives us inspiration. Because we work towards our responsibility to help people on the margins of society, Dalits, the oppressed… We are using our life to serve them,” Modi said.