Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah yesterday said that a controversial slogan and statements made in the run-up to the February 8 Delhi Assembly elections may have caused the party dear.
“We stick to our stand on the Shaheen Bagh protests (against the CAA). However, some slogans should not have been made. Our performance may have suffered because of this,” Shah said at the Times Now Summit in New Delhi. It was at a public rally addressed by Union Minister Anurag Thakur in Delhi that controversial slogans were raised, which brought him censure from the Election Commission of India.
Asserting that people were entitled to protest democratically, Shah claimed that controversial statements were made even at the Shaheen Bagh protest site.
As for arrested Jawaharlal Nehru University student Sharjeel Imam, the home minister said: “He spoke about shutting Assam. We have shut him in a jail instead.”
He said the ministry of home affairs was looking into possible links between the Popular Front of India and Shaheen Bagh protesters. Shah also said that the police crackdown at the Jamia Millia Islamia in December last year wasn’t on students but “those who burnt buses” in violence outside the campus.
Shah conceded that his assessment of getting 45 seats in Delhi poll turned out to be wrong.
“My assessment was 45 seats. It turned out to be wrong,” he said.
Shah said while BJP may have lost, but it “expanded its ideology”. He said the BJP will play the role of a responsible opposition in the Delhi assembly.
In the wake of nationwide protests against the CAA, Shah vehemently defended the contentious law and said that anyone could seek time to debate the issue with him on merits.
“Whoever wants to clarify this issue can seek an appointment with me. I will personally clarify the issue to them. My office will provide time within three days,” Shah said.
Speaking on the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens, Shah said that while the issue has been included in the Bharatiya Janata Party’s election manifesto, nothing has as yet been decided on the matter.
Flashing some papers, the minister claimed that a report by a parliamentary committee headed by then Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee had advocated for a nationwide NRC. He asserted that no one needs to show documents for inclusion in the National Population Register.
“Nobody has been asked for documents in the NPR. Nobody will be asked either. People are supposed to get their details recorded orally,” he said.
As for Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s charge that the Modi government was anti-Dalits, he said that the amendments to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes law to deny reservation in promotions in government jobs were actually passed by the then Congress government in Uttarakhand.
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