Path chosen by you can lead to anarchy, Narendra Modi cautions Opposition

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks in the Lok Sabha, during the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, on Thursday, February 6, 2020.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks in the Lok Sabha, during the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, on Thursday, February 6, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Country can’t function when a duly enacted law is not obeyed, the Prime Minister says on the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Putting up a strong defence of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in both Houses of Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday cautioned that the ongoing protests might lead to a situation of anarchy and asked what would happen if people in the Opposition-ruled States refused to obey laws enacted by their own Assemblies.

Replying to the debate in the Lok Sabha on the Motion of Thanks to the President for his Address to Parliament, he accused the Opposition of instigating people and sought to assure members that no Indian citizen would be impacted by the CAA. 

He contended that the Congress was creating a kalpanik vai (an imagined fear), something, he said, Pakistan had been doing to mislead Indian Muslims. 

‘Routine exercise’

In the Rajya Sabha, Mr. Modi said the National Population Register (NPR) had been introduced by the UPA government in 2010 and argued that the Congress was now misleading people despite its being a ‘routine administrative exercise’ that was used to identify the beneficiaries of government schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. Opposing the NPR was similar to “opposing the poor beneficiaries”, he said. 

“This path will create problems for you [the Congress] as well as the country. I am issuing this warning because we should all be concerned about the country. If the Rajasthan Assembly passes a law but none in Rajasthan is ready to obey it, take out processions and resort to violence... your government [the Congress] is there...What will be the situation? In Madhya Pradesh, you are there. If the M.P. Assembly takes a decision and the people of the State go against it... Can the country run like this? Should we go on the path to anarchy,” Mr. Modi asked in the Lok Sabha.

Also read | Jammu & Kashmir: From a State with autonomy to two Union Territories

In a scathing attack in the Lower House on the Congress’s style of functioning, the Prime Minister said India would never have been able to abrogate Article 370, solve the Ram Janmabhoomi title dispute or ban triple talaq if he had followed the same path as the Congress governments.

He also hit out at Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) politicians, such as Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah, contending that their detention was a fallout of the fact that they had tried to instigate the people to rebel, while his government had faith in the Kashmiris.

Describing Kashmir as India’s “crown jewel”, he said J&K had seen a massive push in development work.

Mr. Modi, who spoke for 1 hour 38 minutes, mostly targeted the Congress, holding it responsible for the Partition, the imposition of the Emergency in 1975 and the anti-Sikh riots. 

“For someone’s aspiration to become the Prime Minister of India, a line was drawn on the map and India was divided into two. After the Partition, the way how Hindus, Sikhs and other minorities were persecuted is unimaginable,” he said, without naming Jawaharlal Nehru.

Also read | Peace bought by an unequal compromise

Mr. Modi, however, chose to extensively quote India’s first Prime Minister to defend the CAA and cited a letter written by Mr. Nehru to the first Chief Minister of Assam Gopinath Bordoloi, on the need to differentiate between Hindu refugees and Muslim migrants.

“Was Nehruji communal? Did he want to create a Hindu Rashtra? I want to ask the Congress,” he asked.

In the Rajya Sabha, he cited statements by Lal Bahadur Shastri and a November 25, 1947, resolution of the Congress Working Committee to support his arguments.

“I don’t believe the Congress was communal on November 25, 1947, and is secular now,” he said. Referring to the ongoing protests against the CAA, Mr. Modi said the “students should ask themselves” if they should support “misinformation”. In a bid to lighten the mood, he said he was inspired by Rajya Sabha chairperson M. Venkaiah Naidu, who is known for using rhymes and acronyms in his speeches, when he quipped “those who used to be silent are now violent”.

Before walking out in protest, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said that while the Congress “supports” citizenship for Hindu refugees, it opposes the law that determines it on the basis of religion.

Taking a dig at the party’s ‘Save the Constitution’ campaign, Mr. Modi said the Congress would do well to remember it a 100 times a day since they were the ones who imposed Emergency, arbitrarily dismissed elected governments, tried to take away the power of judicial review from the judiciary, set up the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC) to function as “a remote control” to the Manmohan Singh-led government, while Rahul Gandhi had torn up a copy of an ordinance.

Invoking the contributions of stalwarts like Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Ashfaqullah Khan, Begum Hazrat Mahal and A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Mr. Modi claimed that while the Congress looked at them as ‘only Muslims’ his government looked at them as Indians.

“I had the great privilege to touch the feet of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan at a very young age,” he said. 

Economic aims

Addressing concerns raised by Rajya Sabha MPs about the condition of the Indian economy, Mr. Modi asserted that there was “no need to despair” as the “fundamentals of the economy are strong”. Stating that the country was aiming to be a $5 trillion economy, he said there could be no progress by “thinking small”. 

Responding to the Opposition saying that he used to oppose the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax as Gujarat Chief Minister, Mr. Modi said he had addressed the issues he had raised then when he became Prime Minister. 

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 12:25:10 AM |

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