Because For BJP It’s About People’s Votes, Not Their Voice

With the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Lok Sabha as well as Rajya Sabha, the BJP is claiming that it has fulfilled its election promise of giving shelter and citizenship to non-Muslim refugees. But is it only a promise fulfillment or much more than that? With the grant of citizenship, won’t these Hindu refugees become voters who will vote for BJP for this extra mile favor?

In states like Assam—where BJP doesn’t have a stronghold and will be needing a strong wave in its favor, as well as a base vote bank—wouldn’t these new citizens help BJP in future elections? Even to acquire the citizenship by naturalization, for non-Muslim refugees an 11 year-period has been reduced to 6 years, which will again help the refugees become voters easily. Shouldn’t we call it a vote bank politics then?

Anti-CAB protests in Assam.
Anti-CAB protests in Assam.

The BJP has very smartly continued to exempt (as per 6th schedule of the constitution) the tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Manipur. To be specific, it excluded tribal areas such as Karbi Anglong in Assam, Garo Hills in Meghalaya, Tribal Areas district in Tripura and Chakma district in Mizoram; no refugee is going to settle in these areas anyway.

This Citizenship Act, along with NRC, will change the religious equation completely and help the right-wing party gain not only votes but also affect the number of voters of other liberal parties. On first look, these bills look very patriotic and essential, but a deeper study gives a different impression. Also, such acts and propaganda raise religious feelings among people. Therefore, many people think that it is a more important issue for them than their basic needs, and then, they vote completely on religious grounds.

This way, valid questions are completely ignored in elections, and a new agenda is generated, and in such an atmosphere a party wins, but morality loses. This will also help the BJP claim and show that they are spreading their right-wing ideology, and their base voters will remain happy as well. How the saffron party is handling the protest is very disheartening.

Just like Kashmir, again, the internet and mobile services have been stopped or restricted in Assam and other Northeast regions. Human rights are being crushed. Now, it is for the citizens of India to decide what they want exactly. Don’t they want to live in the world’s biggest democracy, which is a secular state and always glorified for the same? Or, do they want to change the basic structure of the constitution and live in a state where the rights of fellow citizens are curtailed based on religion?

It is not only about Article 14 but also our mindset. Are we living in a progressive society or are we going backwards? Why is the government trying to break the brotherhood of its citizens just for the sake of power time and again? Why is it creating an atmosphere of fear and propaganda? Does this situation raise a suspicion that the BJP is filtering the population, including the favorable and excluding the ‘unfavorable’ ones?

Is the BJP trying to harm India's democratic structure?
By changing the history, creating suspicion and fear, nothing can be achieved.

If someone wants to link this with law and order and safety issues, then it is better to trust our police and intelligence agencies who are doing a fine job without creating any religious divisions among the people.

For a government, every citizen has to be the same and should be treated the same, but when the government starts discriminating on these grounds, then it can affect the harmony of our country. Until now, we are globally praised for our culture and secular structure, but now, it seems that our government wants to change this glorious image.

By changing the history, creating suspicion and fear, nothing can be achieved. If we want to achieve something, then we have to improve the basic lives of our countrymen, focusing on per capita income, GDP, literacy rate and the need for a truly civilized society; these are the real ground issues.

Just to gain votes, populism, and diverting public’s attention from real issues is not going to help in the long run, what we need is a stable government that treats everyone equally, believes in the constitution and works for the good of its citizen. It should focus on creating an environment where one can speak freely without the fear of being branded as an ‘urban Naxal’ or ‘anti-national‘.

The centre needs to address issues that are essential for the citizens of this country such as jobs, literacy, food security, pollution, law and order, etc. They should let the security forces work independently and take action as per law, free from discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, and religion—because we, the common people of India, want to live peacefully, and we have full faith in our constitution.

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