New Delhi, February 13
Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday said statements like goli maro and “Indo-Pak match” should not have been made by BJP leaders while campaigning for the Delhi Assembly elections and such remarks might have cost the party dearly.
He, however, said the BJP did not fight elections just for victory or defeat but believed in expanding its ideology through polls. “Such statements should not have been made. Our party has distanced itself from such remarks,” he said at an event.
Shah was asked a question about a few BJP leaders raising slogans like goli maro and talking about the “Indo-Pak match” during the Delhi elections campaigning.
He admitted that the BJP might have suffered in the polls because of the statements made by some of its leaders. “It is possible that our performance may have suffered because of this,” he said.
Shah said his assessment on Delhi elections went wrong but asserted that the result of the polls was not a mandate on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) or the National Register of Citizens (NRC). He said anyone who wanted to discuss issues related to the CAA with him could seek time from his office. “(We) will give time within three days,” he added.
Strongly defending the CAA, which provides for Indian citizenship to persecuted non-Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, the Home Minister said there was no such provision in the new law that would take away the citizenship of Muslims.
“We have never discriminated against anyone on the ground of religion. There is no provision in the CAA which says that citizenship of Muslims will be revoked. Don’t just criticise CAA, but discuss it on the basis of merits. the CAA is neither anti-Muslim nor anti-minority. I am ready to meet anyone, but discussions need to happen on merit. Unfortunately, nobody wants to come forward and discuss CAA,” he said.
Shah also said that so far the government had not taken any decision on rolling out the NRC for the whole country and made it clear that those unwilling to show documents during the National Population Register exercise were free to do so. He, however, said the NRC was a promise of the BJP in its election manifesto.
Asked about the ongoing agitations against the CAA, Shah said everyone had a right to peaceful protest but violence was not justified. “We tolerate non-violent protests, but vandalism can’t be tolerated. Silent protest is a democratic right,” he said. — PTI
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