Taking on the Opposition over the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) amid the ongoing protests across cities, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday accused the Congress and the Left of inciting people at protest sites and stressed that the Act will not impact any Indian citizen, including Muslims.
Reiterating that the Act is not against the interests of minorities in the country, PM Modi, in his reply to a debate on Motion of Thanks to the
President’s Address in Lok Sabha, said: “For them (opposition), they are Muslims. For us, they are all Indians. The Act does not affect any Indian.”
“I want to clearly state that with the CAA coming, there will be no impact on any citizen of India, practising any faith. CAA does not affect any Indian, it doesn’t harm minority interests,” he added.
In a speech that lasted for over 90 minutes, PM Modi said India’s first prime minister Pandit Jawaharlala Nehru was in favour of protecting minorities in Pakistan. “Pandit Nehru himself was in favour of protecting minorities in Pakistan, I want to ask Congress, was Pandit Nehru communal? Did he want a Hindu Rashtra?” he said.
Ironically, PM Modi said, much has been said about Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) by those who “love getting photographed with the group of people who want ‘Tukde Tukde’ of India.”
Referring to calls of “save the constitution”, PM Modi reminded the Congress of Emergency
“There has been talk of ‘save constitution’. I agree, Congress should say this 100 times in a day. Maybe they will realize their past mistakes. Did you forget this slogan during emergency? When state Governments were dismissed? When cabinet resolutions were torn?”
Attacking the Congress, Modi said a person who was associated with the 1984 anti-Sikh riots was made as chief minister.
“Does a party that keeps talking about secularism not remember 1984 and the anti-Sikh violence. It was shameful. In addition, they did not make efforts to punish the guilty,” he said.
Modi also trained his guns on former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and National Conference leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah over their remarks on the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Omar Abdullah had said removing Article 370 would bring an earthquake that will separate Kashmir from India. Farooq Abdullah said if Article 370 is removed, there will be no one in the Valley to unfurl the Indian flag. Can any person devoted to the Indian Constitution ever accept this?” Modi said.
“There were statements made by former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir that were unacceptable. These are leaders who don’t trust Kashmiri people that is why they used such language, but we trusted Kashmiris and abrogated Article 370,” the Prime Minister added.
Modi also referred to the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits, saying, “Kashmir’s identity was buried on Jan 19, 1990.”
“Who made Kashmir only about land grabbing? Who made Kashmir’s identity only about bombs and guns? Can anyone forget that dark night of January? In reality, Kashmiri identity is closely linked with harmony,” he said.
Taking a dig at Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and attacking the Congress for its politics in the last seven decades, the Prime Minister said the party’s politics of last 70 years has been such that no Congress leader can be self-sufficient.
Modi said the Congress did not remember to save the Constitution during Emergency and the ‘Save Constitution’ mantra is must “for those who dismissed several state governments”.
Without naming Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Modi said, “I heard an Opposition MP saying- we will beat Modi with sticks in 6 months. I have also decided I will do more ‘Surya Namaskar’. This will make my back even stronger to face abuses. In any case, I have been abused so much for the last 2 decades that their negativity hardly matters”.
Speaking on the economy, Modi said the government has kept the fiscal deficit in check, price rise is also under check and there is macro-economic stability.
The agriculture budget, which was earlier Rs 27,000 crore, has now been increased by five times to about Rs 1.5 lakh crore, he said, adding that the agriculture budget has risen 5 times during the tenure of the NDA Government.
PM Modi said India cannot wait for problems to remain unsolved and it was the NDA government’s determination and decisiveness that led to resolution of decades-old problems like Ram Janmabhoomi issue, Article 370 and Triple Talaq.
The Prime Minister, aid the people of the country have witnessed the work done by government between 2014 and 2019 and, therefore, voted the party back to power with a bigger mandate in 2019.
“Had we continued with the same path of yours, Article 370 would not have been abrogated, Triple Talaq would not have gone,” he told the opposition.
“The people of India have not only changed the Sarkar (government). They want the ‘Sarokar’ (conduct) to be changed as well. If we had worked according to the old ways and thought processes: Article 370 would never have been history. Muslim women would have kept suffering due to Triple Talaq,” he added.
“If we worked as per the old ways, Ram Janmabhoomi issue would have remained unsolved. Kartarpur Sahib corridor would not be a reality. There would be no India-Bangladesh land agreement,” he said.