BJP marks 6 yrs in power, highlights CAA, Article 370
Congress says party’s video is insensitive during pandemic.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday released a video celebrating its six “incomparable” years in power and to highlight achievements of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government since 2014 when it was first voted to power. Modi is due to complete the first year of his second term in office on May 30 and officials said any celebration will be subdued and limited to the virtual world in view of the Covid-19 crisis.
The Congress hit out at the BJP over the nine-minute video, which makes no mention of the pandemic, saying the celebration amounts to insensitivity towards people suffering because of the crisis. “It is not surprising that the BJP is celebrating, or that they have absolutely no sympathy for millions of people, who have been left to the mercies of God on the streets of India. If they had an iota of sensitivity, they would have observed a minute’s silence to mark the people’s difficulties in reaching their homes without any assistance from the government,” said Congress leader Manish Tewari, referring to the migrant workers.
The nationwide lockdown enforced on March 25 to slow the spread of Covid-19 left migrant workers jobless and has forced many of them to walk and cycle back to their homes. In late April, some states started transporting the workers on buses, and on May 1, the Centre started running special trains for them.
Despite multiple attempts, BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya could not be reached for comment.
BJP MP Rakesh Sinha hit back saying that Congress leaders would not understand that report cards are only produced by performers.
“This is not a celebration but an expression of performance, which has been backed by the mandate of the Indian people. Moreover, report cards can be produced only by those who produce and have the potential to transform the country and not by those who were non-performers in their ten-year UPA rule. Therefore, Congress party fails to understand the empirical evidence of the Narendra Modi government and the Congress argument is ridiculous,” said Sinha.
As the party’s supporters shared the video on social media, many reacted by posting pictures of migrant workers making arduous journeys on foot amid the pandemic while questioning whether it was the right time to celebrate.
In the video, the BJP has lauded the government’s initiatives such as the Swachh Bharat (Clean India) campaign that was launched in 2014 to eliminate open defecation and the Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme. The nullification of Constitution’s Article 370 to divest Jammu & Kashmir of its special status and the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act last year to fast-track the citizenship process for non-Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who have entered India before 2015, have been cited as important events during Modi’s second term.
The BJP swept back to power with a bigger majority of 303 seats in 543-member Lok Sabha last year.
The criminalisation of the practice of instant divorce among a section of Muslims and the Supreme Court’s verdict in November awarding the contested religious site in Ayodhya to Hindus also finds mention in the video.
“The BJP government is now working expeditiously to construct a Ram Temple in Ayodhya,” the voice-over in the video says.
The officials cited above said there would not be any major celebrations of Modi’s first year in office and that there have been suggestions including one on holding virtual exhibitions on the fight against Covid-19 that are under consideration. “The information and broadcasting ministry is also planning to seek details from other ministries on the important decisions taken during this one year especially on reviving the key sectors that have been affected by Covid-19. However, it is clear that this is an occasion to fight the crisis,” said one official on condition of anonymity.
A second official who asked not to be named said social distancing will play a major role and the activities to celebrate could be limited to the virtual world. “...it is yet to be decided what course of action is to be adopted for the first anniversary. The government is conscious of the hardships faced by the people and any decision will be take accordingly.”