Senior Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi’s son Samir Dwivedi joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday, the Hindustan Times reported. Samir Dwivedi claimed that he was inspired by the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Samir Dwivedi joined the BJP in the presence of the party’s National General Secretary Arun Singh. “This is my first political party,” Dwivedi said. “Looking at the circumstances today, apolitical people should join politics, good and educated people should join politics.”

Samir Dwivedi asked the people of the country to unite before the “fire” of the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens “spreads all over”. “Those who are fuelling protest at Shaheen Bagh are the same people who were praising China in 1962,” he claimed. “If we do not come forward to support Prime Minister Modiji now we will not be able to control the fire that is raging today.”

Dwivedi said he was impressed with the fact that Modi had taken many decisions which could not be taken earlier. He cited the ban on triple talaq, the abrogation of special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and the Citizenship Amendment Act as examples.

“I just want to ask the Muslim women protestors in Shaheen Bagh one question,” he said. “Did anyone before PM Modi take the decision to end the historic decision to do away with triple talaq? How can a person who abolished the practice of triple talaq take away your citizenship?” Dwivedi also claimed that Opposition parties who are protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act know there is nothing wrong with it.

Women have been protesting against the new citizenship law at Shaheen Bagh since December 15, and have refused to yield to requests by the police to move out. Earlier on Tuesday, BJP leader and Union minister Anurag Thakur said Shaheen Bagh will be cleared once the party is voted to power in Delhi.

Janardan Dwivedi said he had no knowledge of his son joining the BJP. “I have no information about this, If he is joining BJP then it is his independent decision,” the senior Congress leader said.

Samir Dwivedi is a former lieutenant general in the Indian Army, and took retirement in 2008.

The Citizenship Amendment Act 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. At least 28 people have died in protests against the Act since December.