Opposition parties on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of raking up the issue of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) to divert attention from more pressing problems, including the unabated violence in Manipur. They also termed his remarks a “dog whistle” to polarise the electorate ahead of the 2024 general election.
Congress general secretary, organisation, K.C. Venugopal said the Prime Minister “has to answer the real questions of this country — unemployment, price rise and the Manipur issue”. “Manipur has been burning for the last 60 days. Why has the PM not uttered a single word? He wants to run away from the real issues of the country, that is why they are only trying to divert the issues,” he said.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel pointed out that the debate on UCC should not be oversimplified from the perspective of Hindu-Muslim division. “If UCC is brought, what will happen to the tribals? They have their own set of traditions and mores that they follow. Our country has several communities, castes, religions and regional differences, we will have to consider them all before binding them in uniform law,” Mr. Baghel said.
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Manoj K. Jha accused the Prime Minister of being on the constant lookout for occasions to “dog whistle”. “Before commenting on UCC, the PM should have examined what the 21st Law Commission had said,” Mr. Jha said. He said that while dealing with the UCC, one had to take into account the traditions followed by various tribal communities across the country and the Prime Minister should also be aware of the diverse practices within the Hindu religion. “Do not make these issues an instrument of dog whistle politics. If it has to be discussed, do so from micro to macro level. Otherwise it will seem after his recent trip abroad that he says ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ there and forgets about it when he comes here,” Mr. Jha added.
Janata Dal (United) secretary general K.C. Tyagi said that the Prime Minister’s pitch for the UCC is entirely aimed at polarising the electorate before the general elections by using the communal card and to hide the government’s failures. “Our party’s stand on the issue is very clear. We are not against any reform. We believe that the issue is deeply complicated because of the diversity that we are dealing with and therefore there should be widespread consultations and any decision on the issue should be taken based on the general consensus,” Mr. Tyagi said.