India continues to see mass protests against the BJP government’s amendments to the Citizenship Act, plans for nationwide NRC and its nod to the NPR. Opposition parties and members, including Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and Shiv Sena, who had supported the Narendra Modi government’s Balakot air strikes and Article 370 move, have now turned against it. Even allies like Janata Dal (U) and Akali Dal are distancing themselves from the BJP.
ThePrint asks: NRC, NPR, CAA: Is the Modi govt facing a serious trust deficit?
India’s youth are constantly repudiating Modi govt’s attempts to polarise people on communal lines
Senior advocate, Supreme Court & senior Congress leader
It goes without saying that the Narendra Modi government is facing a serious trust deficit. The government’s belief that citizens are misinformed and haven’t read the law is presumptuous. Moreover, public understanding is clearly against what PM Modi is trying to push, which is that there is no intent to discriminate against anyone through the law.
The important thing is that the youth who have taken to the streets are constantly repudiating the Modi government’s attempts to polarise people. I can only hope that these young people will change the face of Indian politics permanently. It is a tough fight but the spontaneity with which they have come out to protest will reap rewards.
The opposition parties are gradually realising that they are responding to a public perception that they had assumed did not exist earlier. They accepted the government’s technical explanations on the legislation that drastically affects people’s rights.
I am afraid the opposition parties didn’t rise to the occasion earlier but they have finally realised the public sentiment.
I don’t think it’s going to be easy for the BJP to push through with its agenda. There are signs of cracks not just in terms of street protests but also in election results. I hope people can sustain this movement.
Can’t think of a single moment in India’s history when trust in govt was this low
Social activist & retd IAS officer
If I look back at the history of this republic, I can’t think of a single moment where the trust in the government has been so low. PM Narendra Modi is indulging in absolutely brazen, bare-faced lies when he claims that no discussion has taken place on the NRC. In fact, Home Minister Amit Shah has spoken about it numerous times and linked it with the CAA.
Amit Shah has denied the existence of detention camps. However, I have been to these camps and petitioned the Supreme Court about the inhuman conditions there. This brazen lying is solely to confuse people. Any uncomfortable truth is being hidden by the Modi government.
The government is definitely unnerved by the protests. So far, they were working on the assumption that the country had given them the mandate to transform India according to the imagination of the RSS. But, the extent, verve, resolve and spontaneity of the protests have unnerved both Amit Shah and Narendra Modi. In the past, they have resorted to their playbook to deal with dissent. First, communalising and making it a Hindu-Muslim issue. Second, using crushing force and intimidation. Third, misleading through lies.
I believe that the opposition parties have also lost moral and political convictions. Only the people of India have led the way. The parties supported who once supported the CAA are now backtracking from the NRC. The weakness of their moral conviction is exposed now.
Modi govt not facing trust deficit. Opposition pursuing own agenda by spreading rumours about NRC, CAA
The Modi government is not facing a trust deficit. A microscopic minority can’t determine the future of Indians. Moreover, I am not sure what the fuss about the NPR is. The NPR was also discussed during the Congress rule. Even in case of the CAA, it provides Indians citizenship irrespective of their caste and creed.
The CAA doesn’t require multiple identity cards. Every person in India owns at least one identity card. So, the NPR process shouldn’t be that taxing. It is also important to know that India is not a dumping ground for illegal immigrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. In fact, I must applaud Home Minister Amit Shah for putting in 109 hours, speaking to over 140 NGOs and chief ministers of all states to implement this plan.
People can always protest. But, if demonstrations are led by opposition parties for their own agenda, that is a concern. Opposition parties in India are pseudo-secular and indulge in vote bank politics. The reasons for spreading rumours about NRC, CAA and NPR are best known to them.
BJP can gain trust by assuring people it won’t conduct a nationwide NRC and then shifting focus on economy
The Modi government is facing a serious trust deficit. There are some credibility issues that have arisen after PM Narendra Modi’s speech at Ramlila Maidan Sunday where he said that the NRC hasn’t been discussed in the cabinet at all since 2014. He also denied the existence of detention camps. But BJP national general secretary P. Muralidhar Rao claimed the following day that the PM “has not said that the NRC will not be started; he has only said the NRC has not started”.
The BJP is indulging in these contradictory statements about the NPR and the NRC. PM Modi’s statement contradicts Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement in Parliament earlier this month that a nationwide NRC will be implemented. Some say that the NPR should not be linked to the NRC, while other BJP leaders say that the NPR is the first step for the NRC.
The Press Information Bureau (PIB) published a list of FAQs, which contradict the CAA. People are bound to be confused. I don’t know whether this is deliberate or if there is indeed a lot of confusion among BJP leaders.
This doesn’t reflect well on the Modi government, especially when it is dealing with such sensitive issues. To gain trust, the BJP must assure people that it won’t conduct a nationwide NRC. After that, it should shift the focus on the economy. How will the economy improve if there is no peace and harmony in society?
Modi and Amit Shah are the only BJP leaders speaking to the public and even they are contradicting each other
Spokesperson, Shiv Sena
The Modi government is facing a trust deficit because it is unable to make clear what the larger point on the entire issue is. There seems to be a significant difference in opinion, especially between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. They are countering each other on the NRC, refugee camps and detention centres.
This lack of clarity has led people taking to the streets. There is an air of mistrust that the government doesn’t seem to be able to dispel. Modi and Shah are the only ones from the BJP who address the public on NRC and CAA. But even they are contradicting each other, which is further complicating the situation.
The Modi government has left many questions on CAA unanswered. In order to regain this trust, the BJP will have to make huge efforts to improve its public image. The party-level meetings won’t suffice.
Moreover, BJP workers can’t address this situation either. The party needs to answer questions on the Census, detention centers, etc. It needs to come clean before the public. The people who are protesting come from all walks of life, and they deserve a clear explanation.
By Kairvy Grewal, journalist at ThePrint