Rajat Sharma

How Modi silenced his critics on Kashmir, CAA citing facts and figures

AKB1909 Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday addressed both Houses of Parliament while replying to the debate on Motion of Thanks for the Presidents Address. He cited latest development figures about Jammu & Kashmir and silenced his critics on Citizenship Amendment Act by quoting from former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri, who had supported giving citizenship to Hindus persecuted in West and East Pakistan.

First, Kashmir. Modi revealed that in the last 18 months, 24,000 houses were built in J&K, compared to only 3,000 houses built during Congress rule. For the first time, after becoming a Union Territory, J&K policemen are getting the same benefits that are being given to central paramilitary forces. For the first time, elections of more than 35,000 panch and 4,400 sarpanches were conducted, Ayushman Yojana medicare gold cards were given to more than 3.5 lakh people, old age pension scheme was launched and for the first time, anti-corruption law was enforced in J&K.

Modi justified the detention of former CM Mehbooba Mufti and quoted one of her remarks in which she had cast doubts about the decision of people of Kashmir to join the Indian Union in 1947. He effectively silenced his critics on the issue of abrogation of Article 370 by saying that these steps have already been approved by Parliament.

Modi then turned towards Congress and other opposition parties and pointed out how these parties were deliberately creating fear and suspicion in the minds of Muslims over CAA and NPR issues. He quoted from letters and speeches by former PM Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, B. R. Ambedkar and Ram Manohar Lohia to justify granting of Indian citizenship to Hindus and other minorities persecuted in West and East Pakistan.

Modi tried to clear all nagging doubts about CAA and NRC, and there now appears to be no reason for anti-CAA protests to continue in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, Mumbai’s Nagpada, and in Kerala and Kolkata. Since it is physically impossible for a Prime Minister to visit each of these places to assuage the feelings of Muslims, he gave his firm assurance on the floor of Parliament.

The Prime Minister took potshots at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his remark the previous day at a Congress election rally. Rahul had said that if youths were not given jobs, they “will start beating Modi ji with sticks after six months”. Without naming Rahul, Modi quipped that he would utilize these six months to tone up his physique by doing Surya Namaskar to face the blows of ‘lathis’.

The problem with Rahul Gandhi is that he is under the false impression that one can become a mass leader if one shouts and attacks opponents mercilessly. In the process, Rahul has been committing blunders. Nearly four years ago, Rahul had bragged that there would be an earthquake if he was allowed to speak for five minutes inside Parliament. Modi made fun of his earthquake remark during his reply, leading to guffaws inside the House. Rahul had said on Wednesday that he never lies and only Modi and Arvind Kejriwal speak lies. The fact is that he had to tender an unconditional apology in Supreme Court for telling a lie.

Rahul should learn from Arvind Kejriwal, who used to attack Modi by calling him a psychopath and Pakistani agent, and had to face the wrath of the voters. Kejriwal has brought a sea change in his attitude, and he has refrained from attacking Modi for the last one and a half years. The sooner Rahul learns the benefits of refraining from personally attacking Modi, the better.

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