Protests against Citizenship Act in New Delhi. | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
Protests against Citizenship Act in New Delhi. | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
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New Delhi: The BJP was caught unawares by the magnitude of the “spontaneous” protests against the amended citizenship law that have erupted across the country, but insiders said the party was not “worried” about its implications.

Over the past week, demonstrations against the law — that promises citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, Buddhists and Jains of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh — have broken out across the country from Guwahati to Mumbai and Chennai to Delhi.

Many places have seen violent agitations and clashes between police and protesters, internet shutdowns and curfew being imposed.

In this backdrop, there are many within the BJP who felt that the citizenship law should serve as a lesson for the party and the government — to do their homework.

Many are citing the scrapping of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir on 5 August as a model that should have been followed. At that time, the BJP had organised a month-long awareness exercise with every MP, state unit and cadre being roped in.

“This time round nothing of the sort was planned. It seems the senior leadership was quite confident that they will get huge support for it just like 370. The kind of preventive measures that should have been in place were missing but it is being dealt with now,” said a senior BJP leader.

Another issue being debated by party leaders is whether so many decisions should have been taken one after the other.

“You need to give time to people to absorb these issues that have been pending for so many years. Right from taking the decision on triple talaq, Article 370 and now citizenship amendment, people have not had time to absorb all this,” said another BJP leader.

“Rather, each issue should have been taken up in a different session. More debates should have taken place so that people received clarity on the issue so they wouldn’t fall for the misinformation which is being spread by the opposition.”

To allay fears within the Muslim community, the minority wing of the party has also started organising seminars and public meetings to “dispel” rumours and misinformation being spread by the opposition, said another leader.

“There are a lot of fence-sitters and the kinds of protests that have been going on have left a negative impact on them as far as the BJP is concerned. It is important to correct that,” said the leader.


Also read: Modi govt reaches out to Muslim clerics to appeal for peace as India protests citizenship law


‘Protests will help BJP’

There is, however, also a section in the BJP that is quite confident the protests will only help widen its base among Hindu voters.

“West Bengal seems to have been given on the platter,” said one BJP leader from the state, commenting on the “gains” the party will make from the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

“The fact that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been opposing it publicly and vociferously only allows the BJP to target the Hindu voters much more convincingly,” he added.

The confidence notwithstanding, BJP insiders said the party had “faltered” in creating awareness and shaping public opinion around the amended citizenship law.

So, the BJP now plans to launch an extensive awareness campaign across the country with special emphasis on West Bengal. Party MP and BJP’s Bengal unit chief Dilip Ghosh said there will be no rethink on the citizenship law.

“It was there in our manifesto. We passed the law in Parliament after due diligence. We consulted constitutional experts before bringing in the law. Why should there be a rethink now?”

Ghosh said the Bengal unit will hold a mega rally in the state on 23 December,
where state leaders will thank the central leadership for bringing in the law.

BJP leaders, he added, will then visit villages, mandals and districts across the state to create awareness about the new citizenship law.

“We will tell the people that we have not done anything illegal. We will explain to the people what it means and how it is being politicised unnecessarily,” Ghosh said.

With Delhi elections around the corner, many in the party also felt the move will bring them electoral dividends.

“Just see where all the protests have taken place. Most of them are Muslim-dominated areas. Both the AAP and Congress are competing for the Muslim vote. This will only help us consolidate our position and get the Hindu vote,” said a BJP leader.

“This atmosphere of protest, the anarchy that is being spread by the opposition will only help us in bringing back the focus on the fact that BJP is the only alternative for them.”


Also read: Modi govt looking at legal options to challenge Mamata stay on Bengal’s NPR exercise


 

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19 Comments Share Your Views

19 COMMENTS

  1. Modi BJP wants to divide India again into 2 parts. So that GANDHI can be replace by MODI, WHICH WILL NEVER HAPPEN.
    MODI NAME IN HISTORY WILL BE WRITTEN AS CRIMINAL COMMUNAL DIVIDER INDIAN PM.

  2. If 124 MP’s in RS can not get together for a cause without a gun to their head,you think all these strike, protest, whatever, will result in what you would prefer to happen in India ?

  3. No two man army can do things expecting something in a nation of 1.3 Billion. It gets worse when the third duffer from Nagpur is included in planning of the scheme.

  4. I hope that the people have finally awoken from their slumber of five years and will give the BJP/RSS the boot in elections. Why it took this long I do not know but I sincerely hope the outrage of the citizens continues until this government is no longer in power! Oh and by the way the protest has as many other religions as Muslims! This is not only about the anti-Muslim BJP/RSS as it is about all the bad laws that the BJP has put out! There is a lot of anger in the people and Modi is doing nothing but stoking that anger!

  5. the truth is that the opposition is so weak that they could not have organized anything at this scale! the protests are indeed spontaneous. whether or not this will impact the electoral fortunes of the bjp is yet to be seen.

  6. Helloooo, which world are you living in? The only people opposing the Muslims and the Loony left and they are being by a rudderless “opposition”. And of course being given excessive oxygen by the biased media.
    Go beyond your usual circle of the looney left and other such people and you will realise that most Hindus actively support the law and the fence sitters, after seeing the Muslims and congress demonstrate, are now convinced that The law is good thing. In statistical terms, go and get a “representative Sample before you come to such judgements

    • wake up and look around – even Bollywood has spoken in support of protest and agaist police brutality. bjp will no doubt win the elections – probably with the help of EVMs. but somethign has changed and people are not fooled any more.

  7. Caught unawares … That does not speak well of an uber control oriented set up, which prides itself on surveillance capabilities. The good thing is that the pan Indian NRC is now almost certainly off the table. Short of an adverse electoral verdict, these protests – sponsored or engineered, just as we agonise whether the slow down is cyclical or structural – have provided an MRI scan of popularity. Not like the opinion polls carried out by friendly magazines and channels.

    • Hahaha this shows Mr Ashok how dumb you are. The protests is mostly in usual suspects, Muslims and leftists dominated circles. The more they more protest, the more bjp will consolidate it’s position amongst Hindus. And believe me now NRC will surely happen.

      When did Muzzies voted for bjp? Bjp got votes from Hindus and other non-muslims.

          • anyways it is coffee> ???what is coffee??? you mean covfefe?
            Total vote share was 50 % plus for BJP > where? in their non-existant internal elections?
            learn some maths: 67% turn out, 37% for bjp. that makes what % of TOTAL population for BJP? beta, karo math! thora multiplication karke dikhado!
            and learn some indian languages … kopi yani-ki phulkopi and bandhakopi – go figure which language. unlike what the rss imagines, india is large and diverse.

          • again lies and propaganda of the IT-cell: in which dreamland did BJP win more than 50%? they won 37% that is all!!!

      • LIES! Lots and lots of Hindus, young and not-so-young are VEHEMENTLY PROTESTING MODI’S CAA! JUST SEE THE PICTURES THAT ARE BEING PUBLISHED DAILY IN THE MEDIA.

  8. Rather unexpectedly, CAA protests are occuring in opposite corners of the country. Even the castration of Art 370 was not opposed so vociferously or violently. The opposition parties are not so well organised to instigate riots in so many places. BJP seems to have miscalculated its step. I have no doubt that CAA is an essential step to clear the mess left behind by the previous governments. But, heavens would not have fallen if the bill had been referred to Select Committee for debate. In any case, it would have come before the Parliament in the first week of budget session. In fact, the debate would have helped give time to the public to digest the matter and form informed opinion. I notice that after Amit Shah’s entry into government, NDA government has become reckless, pushy, and stepping on the toes. Not a good sign.

    • The more they protest CAB, the more bjp will win. After they ruckus created by usual suspects like Muslims, Left libs etc. The Hindus will consolidate behind BJP more strongly.

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