Tuesday, December 6, 2022
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Economy to Citizenship Bill – Accusations pile on PM Modi, but he could not care less

As 2019 draws to a close, Modi remains difficult to dislodge. And the Citizenship Bill won’t diminish his image in south Asia either.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has had a lot thrown at him this week. Days after losing Maharashtra, NCP leader Sharad Pawar accused Modi of offering his daughter, Baramati MP Supriya Sule, a post in the Union government in exchange for supporting the Devendra Fadnavis government – Pawar said he turned down the offer.

More serious have been the accusations against Modi for mishandling the economy. Modi’s predecessor, Manmohan Singh, as well as ex-finance minister P. Chidambaram, have charged the PM with “catastrophic mistakes like demonetisation, flawed GST, tax terrorism, regulatory overkill, protectionism and centralised control of decision-making in the PMO.”

None other than the RBI has weighed in by slashing growth forecasts to 5 per cent, the ‘deepest cut in a decade’.

Also read: As India becomes de facto Hindu Rashtra, BJP looks for new ways to polarise voters

But Modi shows no signs of being perturbed – although Home minister Amit Shah, not Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar held a meeting on rising onion prices – or letting up on divide-and-rule.

His cabinet has just cleared the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or CAB, which aims at granting Indian citizenship to non-Muslim illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Bill will be introduced during the ongoing winter session of Parliament.

This means that only Hindus and Sikhs and Buddhists can get Indian citizenship, if they wish. Only Muslims, even if they are seeking asylum in India, will be turned away. With this Citizenship Bill, Modi is shutting the door to Muslims persecuted in their own countries – they can go elsewhere, but they can’t come to India.

Also read: Rahul Gandhi spells out Congress stance on citizenship bill, but opposition remains divided

What does this do to Modi’s South Asia policy? Officials shrug their shoulders and say no one in the neighbourhood can point a finger at Modi’s India, because they are hardly the upholders of equal rights in their own nations.

For example, Sri Lanka is still contemplating rights for ethnic Tamils, Bangladesh’s Hindu minority is dwindling, Nepal doesn’t count because its citizens are already allowed to work and buy property in India, Bhutan and the Maldives have a much higher per capita income, and Afghanistan hardly matters.

The point here is that the idea of India as a refuge, of a country that doesn’t turn away the dispossessed, the disinherited and the castaway, is now changing. Over centuries and across empires, India has absorbed foreigners and made them her own. After the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, only those foreigners who are not Muslims, can apply.

Modi remains unmoved by the criticism. He has the numbers. In a democracy, he perhaps believes, it’s the only thing that counts.

On the CAB, therefore, the BJP is home and dry (303/543) in the Lok Sabha. But even in the Rajya Sabha it appears confident, although technically the NDA, with 102 MPs, doesn’t have a majority in the 250-member House – at the moment down to 238, which means that 119 is the half-way mark. But the BJP is confident that it will additionally get the support of allies like the AIADMK (11), Biju Janata Dal (7), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (6) and others and get the bill passed.

Also read: As India becomes de facto Hindu Rashtra, BJP looks for new ways to polarise voters

In Modi’s council of ministers, there is only one Muslim, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, responsible for minority affairs, two Sikhs – Harsimrat Badal of the Akali Dal and Hardeep Singh Puri of the BJP –, and one Parsi by marriage, Smriti Zubin Irani.

But it seems now that the removal of Muslims from the highest elected office is being extended to Christians.

It seems that the Modi government is mulling the introduction of constitutional amendments that will dilute or remove Articles 333 and 334, which nominate two Anglo-Indians to the Lok Sabha (and bring the 543 elected MPs to 545). Alongside, the nominated Anglo-Indian MLAs in 10 state assemblies will also go.

Perhaps Modi won’t go so far. India’s Anglo-Indians hardly count for much – numerically. But they matter.

Certainly, Modi has changed India in his image in the six years he has been in power. The lesson of Maharashtra, which the opposition hopes to bring to the Jharkhand and Delhi assembly elections, is that the only way to fight back is to unite against the BJP juggernaut.

For now, though, Narendra Modi remains the tallest leader across the political spectrum. As 2019 draws to a close, he remains difficult to dislodge.

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  1. RSS idiot s likes to kill innocent muslims. Like Iss Terrorist . RSS people are anti nationals. They are not freedom fighters .They are the supporter of British rule.

  2. Jyoti amazes me no end. She concludes her article with this rather helpless line – “As 2019 draws to a close, Modi remains difficult to dislodge!” Jyoti, Modi has a full term ahead of him till 2024 with a solid majority. How can you think of dislodging him as of now when he can pass almost any bill with majority in both houses of Parliament? Instead of writing some sorrowful articles, please work on opposition unity against BJP in next 5 years and then hope for a change.

  3. Jyotiji,
    Well, well, do have another go at Modi, but what’s the current alternative?
    Part-time Pappu? Battered and bruised Chiidambar? Multi-scam Mamta B? Politically bankrupt Maya? Baccha Yadav Akhilesh? Spent cartridge Pawar?


  4. The author has missed the point that even the Christians being persecuted can get citizenship. The logic being that since these are Muslim countries and not secular countries non Muslims are persecuted because of religion. And all religiously persecuted people from these Muslim countries are welcome to be citizens of India.

  5. There is a very interesting point here… “Over centuries and across empires, India has absorbed foreigners and made them her own.” There few who took power as means of this. Let me not even go back to 1200s … east india company was one such entity too. Should we be open for such event too? Today citizenship rights mean ability to change who runs the govt. It also means ability to lobby ones one cause. If it was a kingdom well citizenship doesn’t matter much. Just saying….

  6. Media that has political objectives would selectively believe Sharad Pawar who had said the his meeting with PM Modi was regarding farmers problems but now says that Modi offered her daughter a place in union cabinet. Sharad Pawar who is a corrupt politician has suddenly become darling of modi haters. Time is ripe for CBI and ED. to investigate him .

  7. The problems with Muslims is they always want separate land for them by deciding the country. We have given asylum to Parsis, jius and many others to our country but every one living here peacefully and enrich our culture but Muslim are opposite to them.They are all involved all wrong and anti – social activities. And they harm us enormously. They, by their religion, hate us and always try to destroy us. It is written in their holybook Kuran itself. So we should not allow to increase their population in India any more. Others are habitual to stay peacefully with others, so no problem to give them asylum ,by these we will create some friendly neighbors who will help us when we need like Israeli people.

  8. Muslims asked for a separate Home Land and they were given the same at enormous Cost. Now what the Liberals Congress and Lefties are cribbing about.

  9. Why do you focus on “non-Muslim” factor? Are Muslims to be welcomed into India, when we know clearly that these migrants, with no scope for earning decent living in India will turn into Jihadis? Why don’t you also look at the plight of minorities in Pakistan and Bangladesh? Don’t they deserve asylum?

    • Those Hindus who support corrupt Congress feel that they were better off in Italian Sonia lead rule. The rest of Hindus think they are better off in Modi lead rule.

      • Italian Sonia? How come a moron like you dare to write stupid thing like this?? She had Inian passport since 1983. Only a bloody fool calls a Indian passport holder as an italian.

    • easy answer: if you think Hindutva project is all about making aaloo rs 5 kg cheaper in the bazaar, then you really need to get back to your books…

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