Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said he hoped that the Rajya Sabha would “respect public opinion” and pass the upper caste quota bill on Wednesday, The Indian Express reported.
The government’s goal of “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas [Together, development for all]” was strengthened after the Lok Sabha passed a bill allowing 10% reservations for economically backward upper castes, added Modi. He was speaking at an event in Maharashtra’s Solapur, ANI reported.
“Yesterday, late night, a historic bill was passed in the Lok Sabha,” Modi said. “By passing the bill regarding 10% reservation being granted to economically weaker section in the general category, our principle of ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ has been further strengthened.” The passage of the bill will not affect deprived sections of society such as Dalits and Adivasis, he added.
On Tuesday, Modi had called the passage of the bill in the Lower House “a landmark moment in the country’s history”. “It sets into motion the process to achieve an effective measure that ensures justice for all sections of society,” he had said on Twitter.
The Lok Sabha also passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill on Tuesday. The bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 in order to grant citizenship to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan if they have lived in India for six years, even if they do not possess the necessary documents.
On Wednesday, Modi said the citizenship bill would not affect the rights of people from Assam and other states in the North East.
The prime minister also claimed that suspected AgustaWestland middleman Christian Michel, who was extradited to India last month, was also involved in the original Rafale jet agreement that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government had signed with France. “Could it be that the agreement was delayed because of Michel’s dealings?” Modi asked. “Investigation agencies are looking into this matter. The people of the country also demand an answer.”
Prime minister inaugurates projects in Uttar Pradesh
Modi travelled to Agra in Uttar Pradesh to inaugurate several initiatives estimated to be worth almost Rs 3,000 crore, including the Gangajal project that aims to improve the city’s water supplycity.
He criticised the Opposition for attempting to form an alliance against the BJP, the Hindustan Times reported. “Those who did not even like to look each other are now coming together just to oppose us,” Modi said at a public meeting.
The prime minister praised Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. He said he was proud of her for giving a “befitting reply” to the Opposition’s allegations of irregularities in the Rafale jet deal. “We need to be careful of those selfish people who are spreading lies,” Modi added.
The prime minister said the Namami Ganga Mission and the cleaning of the Yamuna is top priority for his administration.
He also praised his government’s Ayushman Bharat programme. “Within 100 days of introducing the scheme, over seven lakh people have undergone or are undergoing treatment,” Modi said.