Even as the BJP manifesto spoke of India as being the 'natural home' only for Hindus facing persecution, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley has expanded the definition to include 'People of Indian Origin' facing persecution as eligible for refugee status.
Speaking to journalists in Varanasi on Wednesday, Jaitley said, “Today if Sikhs are moved out of Uganda and have nowhere else to go and they come to India, will you give them refugee status or not? For anyone of Indian origin, there will be acceptable cases of giving refugee status. Suppose a Kerala Christian has a British passport and is thrown out, he will obviously come to India as he is a person of Indian origin.”
Jaitley also attacked the UPA for having three “excessively introvertish power centres”. He said, “The Prime Minister was genuinely introvertish and could not reach out. Sonia Gandhi was introvertish. And Rahul probably looked down on others. In fact, the brother-sister (duo), are not introvertish but look down on others. The use of the expression 'neech' (by Priyanka) comes out of an expression that you talk down to others.”
He said the main challenge for the new government would be to work for recovering confidence in the Indian economy. Jaitley added that the economy, security, probity in public life, and providing leadership - which would include decision-making, reaching out to states - would be the NDA government's key priorities if elected to power. He emphasised that participation of state governments would be a key element in decision-making under their government.
When asked about the perceived shift towards the language of caste and religion from development in the campaign, the BJP leader dismissed it as a “sideshow, an aberration” and emphasised that this was an election about development and governance.