Congress leaders on Thursday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of using fake nationalism to hide his government’s failures and alleged that he rakes up Pakistan every time he is cornered, The Indian Express reported. They wondered why he did not speak up about China instead.
Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury alleged that Modi had taken up Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s work and was fulfilling his “two-nation theory”. This will only spell disaster for India’s future, he warned. “In the new year, countrymen expected something new from the Modi government,” Chowdhury said. “But the government and Modi continue to sing the same monotonous litany on Pakistan and fake nationalism.”
The comment came hours after Modi told people protesting against the amendments to the Citizenship Act to expose the activities of Pakistan instead of opposing the legislation. He alleged that Congress and its allies did not speak against Pakistan and were instead taking out rallies against these refugees. “I want to say that today need is to expose activities of Pakistan at the international level,” Modi had said in Karnataka. “If you have to agitate, raise your voice against Pakistan’s actions of last 70 years.”
“It is very easy and convenient to raise the bogey of Pakistan,” Chowdhury, who is also the Congress leader in Lok Sabha, said. “Every Indian knows that Pakistan is our enemy, so Modi does not have anything further to discover about Pakistan. We are fighting against Pakistan since Independence; Modi was not in power at the time.”
Wondering why the BJP government did not take up the matter of China, the MP said: “China has been and still raises the issue of Kashmir in international forum, why has Modi never uttered anything against China?” He added that China was construction a road through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, in reference to the One Belt One Road initiative. “Why does Modi prefer to remain reticent on China and vociferous on Pakistan? Because Modi does not have the guts to raise voice against China.”
The Congress, its allies and the eco-system created by them “are standing against the Indian Parliament”, Modi had alleged on Thursday. Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma dismissed this and reminded Modi that the Congress had opposed the law in both Houses. Modi “lacks respect for the institution of Parliament,” Sharma alleged.
“He ought to be told that in Parliamentary democracy you cannot have one view, one party, and one ideology,” Sharma said. “Bills are voted unanimously and contested and challenged as well. We challenged it [the Bill] and we opposed it. How can he say that we are against Parliament?”
Sharma added that the Congress did not need a certificate from Modi about speaking against Pakistan in international fora. “He came to office in 2014. Before that who was taking up the matters [against Pakistan] – whether at the UN or human rights commission,” Sharma asked. “It was the Congress government. Let him not forget that it was Indira Gandhi who dismembered Pakistan, and Bangladesh was created.”
Former Union minister Manish Tewari also criticised the prime minister’s remarks. “The Prime Minister has fallen into the habit of reducing everything to a brainless binary. Whenever he is cornered, he labels everybody as Pakistanis,” Tewari said.
“Whenever the Prime Minister is concerned, he raises the bogey of Pakistan to demonise his political and constitutional opponents,” Tewari added. “The Prime Minister should understand that we are not against giving refuge to the persecuted, but in a constitutional democracy compassion – and not religion – has to be the basis for that refuge and citizenship.”
There have been massive protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed NRC across India over the past month, resulting in the deaths of at least 26 people.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims.