Prime Minister Narendra Modi, speaking in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, castigated the Opposition for its stance on the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Population Register, and said that it is opposing the two policies due to "vote-bank politics."
Earlier in the day, he spoke in the Lok Sabha and touched upon the same issues.
Replying to the debate in the Rajya Sabha on a motion thanking the president for his address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament, he quoted statements made by Ram Manohar Lohia and Lal Bahadur Shastri on supporting minorities facing persecution in Pakistan.
Attacking the Opposition, especially the Samajwadi Party for taking a stand against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Modi recalled that Lohia had said, "I reject the notion that we should not care about the Hindus of Pakistan since they are Pakistani citizens. Irrespective of the citizenship of Pakistan's Hindus, it is our duty to protect them like we protect Indian Muslims and Hindus."
Modi further said, "Is it okay to misguide and misinform the nation? Can anybody be a part of a campaign that does the same? The path being taken on CAA by many Opposition parties is unfortunate.".
He said the Kerala chief minister has warned about extremists being involved in anti-citizenship law protests in the state but Left party members were supporting similar protests in the national capital.
The prime minister alleged there was an attempt to cover undemocratic activity under the garb of protests against the law. He went on to say that no one is going to get political benefit out of the protests.
Instead of scaring people on the law, right information needs to be provided, he said.
Amid loud protests from the Opposition benches, Modi also spoke on the Census and NPR, saying that they are basic exercises that have happened in the past as well. "But when votebank politics is a necessity then those who carried out NPR earlier,spread misinformation about it now. You (Opposition) disapprove of the NPR that you yourself introduced."
The prime minister recalled, "The home minister during the UPA regime had said during the inauguration of the NPR exercise that everyone should be a part of this exercise. He had even appealed to the media to disseminate information about it."
Questions asked in the NPR are purely governance-related, he said citing the example of asking citizens of the language spoken by them and their parents are deeply linked to the schools that need to be set up in that particular area.
Some states have expressed objections over the National Population Register (NPR) form having columns on date and place of birth of parents. The Congress has demanded the deletion of these questions.
Modi said on Thursday, "We have a record of your NPR, no citizen was persecuted based on that record of NPR."
'Decisions on J&K taken after detailed discussions'
During his speech, the prime minister also spoke in detail about development measures taken in Jammu and Kashmir and responded to accusations of repressive measures in Jammu and Kashmir.
"One MP said the decisions on Jammu and Kashmir (abrogation of Article 370 and creation of Union Territories) were taken without any discussion. This observation is not correct. The entire nation has seen the detailed discussions on the subject," he added.
The prime minister said the people of Jammu and Kashmir got benefits of reservation for the first time in decades.
"There were Block Development Council polls. RERA came into being there. For the first time, Jammu and Kashmir got a comprehensive start-up, trade and logistics policy. The anti-corruption bureau was set up there," he said.
In August last year, the Central government abrogated Article 370, which gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the region into two Union Territories.
Attacking the Congress, the Prime Minister said: "People do not forget things easily. I want to remind the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha about the manner in which proceedings regarding the creation of Telangana took place. Doors were closed and live telecast was prohibited.
"Did our former prime minister Dr Manmohan Sigh not remark that democracy is being harmed due to protests on the Telangana issue? Atalji created not one but three states. The entire process was done in an amicable manner, unlike what happened during the creation of Telangana," he said.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Feb 06, 2020 19:35:32 IST