The BJP does not believe in ‘family planning’ in politics and always welcomes new allies, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Saturday and claimed that talks were on with the Shiromani Akali Dal.
At an event, Shah also emphasized that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) will be implemented before the Lok Sabha elections and predicted that the BJP will win 370 seats while the NDA will win over 400 seats out of 543 in the elections. .
When asked about the possibility of Jayant Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and other regional parties joining the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the Home Minister said: ” “We believe in family planning (in general) but not in politics.”
“We always want our alliance to grow and we always welcome new allies. Our ideology has remained the same since the days of Jan Sangh. Those who want to join us can come,” he said at the ET NOW 2024 Global Business Summit.
When pressed further on SAD’s re-entry into the NDA, he said: “Talks are going on but nothing has been finalized.”
The SAD, led by Sukhbir Singh Badal, had pulled out of the NDA in September 2020 over the now-repealed three farm laws.
On the possibility of joining the TDP, which quit the NDA in 2018, or the YSR Congress, Shah said: “Not everything is revealed on such platforms. Wait for some time. Everything will be clear to everyone.”
In a major political realignment ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar switched from the opposition INDIA bloc to the NDA last month, while there is talk of the RLD also joining the alliance led by the BJP.
Shah said the BJP has never sought to part ways with any alliance partner and has even let its regional allies run state governments despite being the largest partner.
He said many “friends” have come and many have left.
“Normally there are two reasons why they leave. It is either because of a certain incident or because of the political equation of a particular state. But the BJP never sought separation from any party. The BJP always maintained the dharma of the coalition,” Shah said .
The Union minister asserted that there is no suspense over the outcome of the Lok Sabha elections and even the Congress and other opposition parties have realized that they will have to sit on the opposition seats again.
“We have repealed Article 370 (of the Constitution, which gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir). So we believe that the people of the country will bless the BJP with 370 seats and the NDA with over 400 seats.” He said Sha.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made a similar prediction about winning a third consecutive term a few days ago while speaking in Lok Sabha.
Shah said the 2024 elections will not be a choice between the NDA and INDIA’s opposition bloc, but between those who fulfill the promise of development and a bright future and those who give mere slogans and represent hopelessness.
When asked about Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, he said the Nehru-Gandhi scion has no right to go ahead with such a march as his party was responsible for the partition of the country in 1947.
Now, he said, some Congress members are again talking about the division of the country (South India – North India) and the party is not even distancing itself from such statements.
On the timing of a white paper tabled by the government in Parliament, Shah said it was necessary as the country has full right to know what mess the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) left behind when it lost power in 2014.
“At that time (2014), the economy was in bad shape. There were scams everywhere. Foreign investment was not coming. If we had published a white paper at that time, it would have given the wrong message to the world.
“But after 10 years, our government has revived the economy, attracted foreign investment and there is no corruption at all. So it is the right time to publish the white paper,” he said.
The Home Minister said the Congress was afraid that its scams since 1948 would come to light in the White Paper.
He stated that during the two terms of the previous UPA government there were scams on the order of $12 crores.
On the CAA, Shah said the law, enacted in 2019, will be implemented before the Lok Sabha elections after rules regarding it are issued.
“Our Muslim brothers are being misled and instigated (against the CAA). The CAA is only aimed at giving citizenship to those who came to India after facing religious persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. It is not to snatch Indian citizenship from nobody,” he said.
To a question on a Uniform Civil Code, Shah said it is a constitutional agenda, signed by the country’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and others.
“But the Congress had ignored it due to appeasement. Implementation of UCC in Uttarakhand is a social change. It will be discussed at all forums and will face legal scrutiny.
“A secular country cannot have civil codes based on religion,” he stated.
On the decision to confer the Bharat Ratna on Chaudhary Charan Singh, former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao and renowned agricultural scientist MS Swaminathan, Shah said all three persons were great institutions of their times.
“In Congress times, Bharat Ratna was given out of obligation or for family reasons,” he said.
When some leaders, including Uddhav Thackeray, were asked why Bharat Ratna was not given to Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Shah said, “We have taken note of your suggestion.”
The Home Minister, however, refused to comment on the issues at the Gyanvapi mosque and the Shahi Idgah mosque complex in Mathura, saying they were now a matter for the courts.
Asked about the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991, he said: “The law is in place.”
The law prohibits conversion of any place of worship and provides for maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on August 15, 1947, excluding the Ram Janmabhoomi complex at Ayodhya.
A section including some BJP leaders has demanded that the law be repealed.
Shah said it is very unfortunate that there is a debate on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s caste and alleged that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has a habit of telling lies publicly and repeating them later.
Shah also said that it was a Congress government in Gujarat that included Modi’s caste in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) list in 1994 and the Center included the prime minister’s caste in its OBC list in 2000.
“At that time Modi was also not in a position of power, neither a parliamentarian, nor an MP, nor even a sarpanch. He became prime minister in 2001. These people have a habit of distorting facts,” Shah said.