Hailing Bihar for giving “the best response” to amended Citizenship Act, BJP President Amit Shah on Thursday appealed to the people to pledge their support to the new law by giving a missed call on a designated number from their mobile phones.
He urged the crowd attending a pro-CAA rally at Kharauna in Vaishali district, about 75 km from capital Patna, to give a missed call to the 8866288662, pledging their support to the legislation which has triggered country-wide protests.
Shah also sought to dispel “rumours” of discord within the NDA in the state, asserting that the upcoming assembly polls in Bihar will be contested under the leadership of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Shah slammed the Opposition for misleading minorities about the Act in pursuance of their “vote bank” politics and engineering violence that had erupted in the aftermath.
Underscoring that the law provided for granting citizenship and not snatching it away from anybody, he said the party was organizing rallies across the country with a view to busting the misinformation campaign.
He talked in support of the CAA, but did not mention NRC or NPR (National Population Register) in his speech.
Opposition RJD, Congress and their Grand Alliance partners in Bihar have been campaigning among the people against the CAA, proposed NRC and NPR. Lalu Prasad’s RJD has been targetting chief minister Nitish Kumar over these issues.
Kumar, whose party JD(U) voted in favour of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Parliament to help it become an Act, has said a country-wide implementation of National Register of Citizens was “needless” and had “no justification”.
On NPR, he said in state assembly on Monday last that his government agreed in principle to it as they did likewise when such an exercise was last conducted 10 years ago.
He, however, had emphasised that the census should be caste-based.
Shah sought support of the people to the Modi governments measures like CAA as also abrogation of Article 370 and construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.
With Bihar scheduled to see elections in the current year, Shah declared “I want to dispel all rumours about our coalition with Kumars JD(U). The elections will be contested under Nitish Kumars leadership”.
“Lalu Prasad (RJD supremo), who is in jail in corruption cases, may go on dreaming that our coalition will come apart.
But he should know that the NDA has led Bihar out of his lantern age (an allusion to RJDs poll symbol) to the LED era.
“The country and the state shall progress under the leadership of Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar respectively”, Shah flanked by Union ministers Giriraj Singh, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Nityanand Rai and Ashwini Choubey besides state unit chief Sanjay Jaiswal and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, said.
Shah had earlier stated in a couple of TV interviews that the chief minister will lead the NDA charge in the assembly polls. This was, however, the first occasion for him to make a pronouncement to the effect on the soil of Bihar.
Utterances of a few Nitish-bashers in the state BJP and comments of some JD(U) leaders against CAA had triggered speculations if all was well in the NDA in the state.
Kumar, who had severed ties with the BJP in 2013 and formed a government of the Grand Alliance with the RJD and the Congress in 2015, joined hands with the saffron party again in mid-2017 to form a NDA coalition ministry.
The NDA won 39 out of a total of 40 Lok Sabha seats in the last general election in Bihar. Now it would be interesting to watch if this could be repeated in the assembly polls before term of the present House comes to an end in November.
Squarely blaming the Congress for the Partition, Shah cited the dramatic fall in the population of non-Muslims in Pakistan and Bangladesh over the years and claimed this was on account of religious persecution which included forcible conversion and violence.
“Where did all the non-Muslims vanish? The CAA is aimed at helping those who had to flee these countries after their women were raped in front of their eyes, their property was captured and their places of worship desecrated, said the Home Minister about the new law to give citizenship to non- Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
Highlighting that leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, Rajendra Prasad and Maulana Azad had all stressed on the need for ensuring minorities rights in Pakistan, the BJP leader said “Rahul baba and his Congress should pay heed to the stance of their past generation of leaders and stop spreading misinformation about CAA.
Referring to Matuas and Namashudras lower caste Bengali-speaking refugees who have migrated to states bordering Bangladesh and stand to benefit from the legislation Shah accused Lalu Prasad and “Mamata didi” of being insensitive to their plight.
Training his guns at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, whose Aam Aadmi Party the BJP seeks to defeat in the coming assembly polls, Shah said “when slogans like bharat tere tukde honge hazaar (India shall be broken into a thousand fragments) a few years ago at JNU, the Narendra Modi government put the guilty behind bars. But Kejriwal government has been creating hurdles in their prosecution”.
Taking a dig at civil rights activists who have been critical of Modi government on issues like mob lynching, abrogation of Article 370, Babri mosque demolition and also CAA, Shah said “they should realize that hapless refugees also have human rights and our move is an endorsement of the same.