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No changes to Constitution, assures PM

Apr 22, 2024 08:51 AM IST

In a rally in Rajasthan’s Barmer last week, Modi asserted that his government revered the Constitution and even BR Ambedkar would not be able to abolish it now

Prime Minister Narendra Mod’s instruction to his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) colleagues ahead of the ongoing Lok Sabha polls was to steer clear of controversies and refrain from making comments that would give the opposition an opportunity to attack the party.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Rajasthan last week. (BJP Photo)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Rajasthan last week. (BJP Photo)

The instruction that was reiterated on more than one occasion was overlooked by a bunch of party leaders such as former minister from Karnataka Anant Kumar Hegde and Lalu Singh, who is contesting to retain the Faizabad seat. Straying from the party line, they made comments about the need to revisit some of the provisions of the Constitution, without explicitly stating which ones. Sensing the alarm that such a comment can stoke among the communities who benefit from caste-based reservation, and are coveted by the BJP, the PM has gone on record to say that there will be no changes to the Constitution.

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In a rally in Rajasthan’s Barmer last week, he asserted that his government revered the Constitution and even BR Ambedkar would not be able to abolish it now.

“The Constitution of the country is everything for the (BJP) government and even if Babasaheb Ambedkar himself comes, he cannot abolish the Constitution,” he said.

While the opposition has not let go of the chance to raise these comments about the need to change the Constitution, on Sunday, the PM blamed the Congress for stoking fears. Addressing a rally in Rajasthan, he said the opposition party is trying to create fear among the Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes that the BJP will alter the existing reservation in government jobs and educational institutions.

Positive message

Former Rajya Sabha member and chairman of the ICCR, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, who is overseeing elections in Rajasthan, has sent out a message to party workers and supporters to remain vigilant and guard against “divisive forces”. The BJP’s message “has been and should be a positive one, where we encourage each person to at the holistic picture as they vote” he said.

The message talks about an “unprecedented and vicious attempt to bewilder and confound a voter” which he said is “being supported and funded by powers within and outside India.”

The BJP has been blaming “inimical forces” for trying to destablise the government in India. The party claims the government’s muscular foreign policy and decisive steps in decision making have given these forces within and outside the country a reason to collude and forge an anti-India narrative.

“Our leader Narendra Modi does not fit into their matrix as he cannot be bought, influenced or silenced... At many levels, there is a targeted attempt to engulf the candidates in local identity-based turf wars, devoid of what the character of a national election should be,” he said.

Cautioning against attempts to create fissures within society, which can lead to fights within families, residential societies and communities, he said the BJP’s message “is of unity, that where Rashtra Pratham is not just a slogan but practice... good politics — politics of performance...and selflessness, that of service and compassion.”

Sahasrabuddhe, who is also the vice chairman of Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini, a research and training academy for elected representatives and is a key resource for training BJP leaders, also spelt out the message the workers and supporters need to relay. “Our message is that a strong central government can ensure stability and development in the country...appeasement and divisions won’t work... Nobody has stood for the backward classes as much as we have done... Shri Ram is back home after 500 years.”

PM’s speech

On Sunday, the PM’s speech came in for severe criticism by the opposition for a reference he made to former PM Manmohan Singh’s speech where the latter spoke about the rights of minorities over the country’s resources.

Slamming the Congress, the PM said if the Congress is voted to power, they would distribute the nation’s wealth among “infiltrators” and “those who have more children”. He said those who were in power earlier has said Muslims have the first right to the wealth of the nation. “Should your hard-earned money be given to infiltrators?” he said, adding that the Congress’s manifesto speaks of taking stock of the resources and redistributing it.

Addressing a rally in Rajasthan’s Banswara, he said the Congress was influenced by “urban Naxals and Leftists, and that will take away people’s gold and property to redistribute them”.

“So, who will they give this property to? To those who have more children… to illegal infiltrators… can your hard-earned property be given to infiltrators? Do you agree with the Congress manifesto?” the PM said.

The opposition has been quick to criticise the PM’s speech. Congress leader Pawan Khera defended the Congress manifesto and said it talked about justice for the youth, women, farmers, tribals, middle class and workers.

Shiv Sena (UBT) lawmaker Priyanka Chaturvedi also criticised the speech. In a post on X, she said the PM’s speech “is extremely misleading, hateful in content and is as divisive as it can get.”

“...It explains two things clearly – 1. This cannot be the language of a party speaking of a third term but more a language of desperation, 2. Election Commission is clearly avoiding any action against such hate and bile.”

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    Smriti covers an intersection of politics and governance. Having spent over a decade in journalism, she combines old fashioned leg work with modern story telling tools.

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