Playing Up 'Modi's Promise', Centre Notifies CAA Rules Ahead Of LS Polls

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Playing Up ‘Modi’s Promise’, Centre Notifies CAA Rules Ahead Of LS Polls

| Updated: March 12, 2024 12:47

Continuing with its Modi ki Gurantee narrative in run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, the Centre has finally notified the rules of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, four years after it was passed. Political pundits say the Narendra Modi government wants to emphasise its message to voters that “Jo kaha, voh kiya (delivered all that we promised)”.

Minutes after the rules were notified, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who has steered the CAA, posted on X: “With this notification PM Shri @narendramodi Ji has delivered on another commitment and realised the promise of the makers of our Constitution to the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians living in those (neighbouring) countries.”

The CAA had been brought in and passed within months of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, in which the Act was part of the BJP’s manifesto promises. It eased the citizenship process for “persecuted religious minorities” from neighbouring countries Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who had entered India before December 31, 2014 – hence, covering Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Christians, and excluding only Muslims.

Seen as discriminatory towards Muslims, the Act had triggered protests across the country, forcing the government to pause its notification. As the wait for its rules to be notified dragged on, Opposition parties attacked the BJP for talking about the CAA only close to elections, just so to polarise voters.

Now that the CAA has come into force, the BJP will hope for electoral gains in West Bengal, which has a huge population of Hindus who migrated from Bangladesh and have been demanding citizenship rights. The Trinamool Congress-ruled state with its 42 seats is a good catchment area for the BJP if Modi’s goal of winning 370 seats in the coming Lok Sabha polls is to come true. The BJP had won 18 seats in Bengal last time.

While BJP leaders admitted they expected protests over the CAA’s implementation, at least in some parts, unlike the widespread agitation of 2019, sources said the government is confident of ensuring these do not get out of control. The government will be particularly concerned about party-ruled Assam, where citizenship to “outsiders” is a touchy issue.

But what the BJP is counting on is that the move reinforces Prime Minister Modi’s image of a “doer” and “decisive leader”, a BJP leader said. “This will embellish Brand Modi, boosting his image in Hindu minds. It’s not just in West Bengal, be it Uttar Pradesh or Telangana or Maharashtra, the slogans for Modi will be ‘Jo kehte hain, so karte hain… Hindu hit ki raksha karte hein (We do what we say… protect Hindu welfare).”

Also Read: TMC Pulls Up Surprise By Naming Anti-CAA Activist Oxford Scholar To Take On Congress Bastion In Malda

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