Modi seeks support for CAA
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday asked citizens to “show your support for the CAA”, leading a social media campaign in support of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act that suggested the government was firm about enforcing it despite the widespread opposition.
“#IndiaSupportsCAA because CAA is about giving citizenship to persecuted refugees & not about taking anyone’s citizenship away,” Modi tweeted from @narendramodi_in and his personal website, and linked the post to his mobile application, NaMo App.
Apart from @PMOIndia and @narendramodi, his two official Twitter handles, Modi has a personal Twitter handle, a personal website (narendramodi.in) and the mobile application.
“Check out this hashtag in Your Voice section of Volunteer module on NaMo App for content, graphics, videos & more. Share & show your support for CAA,” the tweet added.
Modi also tweeted from his official @narendramodi handle a link to a video by Jaggi Vasudeva aka Sadhguru, urging people to watch it, stressing that “he calls out the misinformation by vested interest groups”.
“Do hear this lucid explanation of aspects relating to CAA and more by @SadhguruJV. He provides historical context, brilliantly highlights our culture of brotherhood. He also calls out the misinformation by vested interest groups. #IndiaSupportsCAA,” Modi tweeted.
His party too went on an overdrive to push the hashtag on Twitter, and it was soon trending on the social media platform. The BJP also tweeted a video of rallies held in support of the citizenship amendment in various parts of the country.
Party leaders posted newspaper reports that said that even people who had voted against the BJP in Uttar Pradesh supported the new citizenship law.
The tacit message was about an alleged Hindu-Muslim divide on the matter, which Modi had earlier tried to highlight with his claim that the violent among the protesters could be identified from their clothes.
Initially, when the protests against the citizenship amendment and the National Register of Citizens broke out across India, the government had appeared to betray jitters.
Modi had claimed there had been no discussion on the NRC, belying home minister Amit Shah’s repeated assertions about carrying out a countrywide update of the citizens’ register.
Monday’s renewed push appeared to suggest the government was determined to implement the new citizenship law and, BJP leaders said, the nationwide NRC — which Modi’s tweets did not mention.
BJP leaders claimed that feedback from the ground showed the “majority” (Hindus) supporting the citizenship amendment and only a section of Muslims opposing it, being “misled” by Opposition claims that it would cost community members their citizenship.
“We were initially apprehensive since we didn’t expect such protests outside the Northeast and Bengal. But the situation is now turning in our favour. We have been able to counter the Opposition with bigger shows in support of the amended act,” a BJP leader said.
He claimed the anti-citizenship-act protests were helping the BJP consolidate Hindu support in its favour.
Modi’s latest push seemed to have been carefully crafted. It came a day after mainstream newspapers published an interview with law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, where he tried to allay fears over the NRC.
Prasad promised that a “proper legal process” would be followed during a nationwide NRC. He said the data collected during the impending National Population Register update might or might not be used during the NRC exercise, appearing to contradict Shah who had said they would not be so used.
By speaking in different voices, the government seems to be trying to counter and contain the protests while signalling, at another level, its determination to implement the citizenship overdrive with the majority behind it.