Friday, 25 November, 2022
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Economy slows, protests grow — Modi has some hard decisions to take as 2019 ends

For the first time since he came to power in 2014, Modi seems concerned about the challenge to the BJP.

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This week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has weighed in twice on the continuing protests around the Citizenship Amendment Act as well as the National Register of Citizens, even as two foreign nationals were picked up and questioned for participating in these protests in Chennai and Kochi.

As many as 19 people have died in the protest violence so far in Uttar Pradesh. Besides, 1,113 people have been arrested in 327 cases and another 5,558 people placed under preventive detention.

For the first time since he came to power in 2014, Modi seems concerned about the challenge to the BJP. As many as 10 Congress and non-BJP governments, led by Punjab’s Amarinder Singh, have said they won’t implement the National Population Register (NPR) at the state level, because data generated by the NPR will become the basis for the nationwide NRC.

Also read: Economy to Citizenship Bill – Accusations pile on PM Modi, but he could not care less

As he backtracked on the BJP’s stated commitment to implement the NRC, even in the party manifesto, at the Ramlila Maidan, Modi denied the NRC had ever been discussed by his Cabinet since he came to power. The opposition, he said, was spreading “misinformation” and “lies”.

But a scan of recent Modi’s speeches has revealed the opposite. At an election rally on 24 April in Ranaghat in West Bengal’s Nadia district, Modi not only spoke about the need to implement the NRC and the CAA, but also made a clear linkage between the two.

“We will take an important step when we win, related to Citizenship Act. Last time around, the TMC, the Congress and the Communists stopped the amendment, they will lose now. The people will make them lose. And we will pass that law in Parliament,” Modi says in the video.

“Alongside,” he added, “work on the NRC will also be started. So that the people of West Bengal will be saved from illegal infiltrators.”

For the time being, in the face of the student protests, Modi and Amit Shah seem to have backed off on implementing the party manifesto’s section on “combating infiltration.”

The section states that “there has been a huge change in the cultural and linguistic identity of some areas due to illegal immigration…We will expeditiously complete the National Register of Citizens process in these areas on priority. In future, we will implement the NRC in a phased manner in other parts of the country.”

Shah’s home ministry also seems to have other ideas. Apart from insisting that the NPR will be updated, which even the UPA government under Manmohan Singh had done, the two foreign nationals have been asked to leave the country for participating in anti-CAA protests.

Also read: If Modi-Shah succeed in CAA-NRC project, these consequences will alter Indian society

For the first time as well, small protests in highly controlled societies in the Gulf are also taking place. In Dubai, an anti-CAA protest was allowed on 24 December – you can see the video here. Only in August, the UAE awarded Modi the ‘Order of Zayed,’ its highest civilian honour.

Even in Singapore, an Indian national was picked up for protesting against the CAA.

Universities in Europe and in the US have witnessed several anti-CAA protests these past couple of weeks, although their capitals have officially kept mum.

But diplomatic sources in Delhi have told me that they are increasingly concerned about the trampling of India’s democratic tradition and are keeping a close eye on the evolving situation in the country.

External affairs minister S. Jaishankar’s cancelling an appointment with the US Congress is believed to have not gone down well with the Americans.

As the PM heads into the Budget season, he will have to scramble to balance the demand to open up the economy to kickstart growth with demands to roll back measures like the NRC and the CAA.

Many say that Modi and Amit Shah are using these measures to keep the fires of Hindu-Muslim polarisation alive. But along with a damaged economy, several NDA allies like the Akali Dal are also not happy with the CAA. Certainly, the time has come for Modi to take some hard decisions.

Also read: Why India should shelve NPR, the National Population Register


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  1. rss’s dream of akhand-bharat is coming true – students in Pakistan are chanting the jnu-azadi song and students from jmu/jnu/amu to iims/iits here are singing Faiz. wah modiji wah! you forged a unity that could not be achieve in 70 years! chatra ekta zindabad!

  2. There is a Paper written by Dr. Arvind Subramaniam (Former CEA in Mr. Modi’s regime) and Josh Felman; Please read that Paper (only 37 pages, I think you can tackle it) and read it to comprehend it and reflect on it as it presents a pellucid picture of our economy and please indulge in this process without your political affiliations whether you’re Pro-Modi or Anti-Modi because everybody is responsible for it. Just remember almost 1 million new job seekers enter in the Indian markets and to accommodate (whether self-employed or opposite) you need much more growth, also a major chunk of this growth is due to Public spending which is only rising these days. Also please don’t compare or present elite institutes placement records to counter the recession because those institutes are limited and also don’t present figures of Crowd based Capitalism (ie Gig based economy – Uber, Swiggy and all) because these jobs cannot be permanent ones as it doesn’t have any Medical insurance, Benefits, proper Leaves, any Post-retirement plans, and no other benefits. So, when in future you think of commenting again you have facts – hard facts not some concocted ideas tailored to suit your political affiliations, so that nobody when reading comments say after reading your comment What a buffoon.

    Here is that Paper, enlighten yourself: –

    • 37 pages is way beyond my intellect. PM Rajiv Gandhi wanted everything down to one A 4 sheet. Perhaps if it was something really complex, like the Assam Accord, he would have allowed one more sheet.

      • Modi has reduced that single A4 sheet to single slogans. You can’t run a country the size of India with that. The results are for everyone to see, both during Rajiv Gandhi’s rule and now Modi’s rule.

        While I don’t expect Ashok to read 37 pages. I’m sure the FM should be able to. It’s her duty.

  3. Modi has corrected historical congress mistakes with respect to blackmoney ,GST implementation ,Banking Non performing assets issue, we will see the benefits of these measures soon.

    All our parents 50 years ago when they bough a flat had to pay 50% in black we are not faced with the same problems

    • We will see the benefits soon. Very soon. 5 years have passed. Wait another 5 years. Black money has increased, not decreased by some estimates.

      Right now Modiji is busy in the civil war he has unleashed. It will take up all his time. So we will have to patiently wait till 2024-29.

      And after 2029 we will have Adityanath as PM. So we can wait till 2034 or 2039. But we are Indians and patience is one of our strong points.

  4. Credit growth at a 58 year low. 2. Sadanand Dhume has written a column in WSJ, Legacy may be Instability and Stagnation. He says, For three decades, India projected itself as a bright spot in a tough neighbourhood. We may remember 2019 as the year it became a trouble spot instead. 3. We have grown up believing that the road to Delhi leads through Uttar Pradesh. UP today is looking like a foretaste of what India’s dystopian future could be like. Early in the second term, there is a fork in the road. One option is to stand by CM Ajay Bisht, commend him for his firmness and resolve. The other is to acknowledge that things have indeed gone too far.

    • You must be hallucinating. How could Indian economy is a troubled spot when it’s still growing?? People like who claim to be knowledgeable just keep ranting what suits your agenda. Better do some research rather than citing a propaganda article. Dhume is well known Modi critic, he sees everything wrong in what Modi does even though others have different opinion.

      • Holywarrior007: do you smoke hashish or marijuana or drink bhang? It’s actually you that is hallucinating. The whole world is talking about the economy being in trouble and you say it isn’t. It is not just Dhume.

        Modi’s blind supporters are his worst enemies.

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