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Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the opposition is “playing politics" with the Constitution, but for the Bharatiya Janata Party, it is a matter of faith, and this election will ensure that those who are against the Constitution will be punished.

Written By: Rajat Sharma @RajatSharmaLive New Delhi Published on: April 17, 2024 16:32 IST
Aaj Ki Baat with Rajat Sharma.
Image Source : INDIA TV Aaj Ki Baat with Rajat Sharma.

In his election rallies in Bihar and West Bengal on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit out at the opposition for launching a smear campaign against him on the issue of the Constitution. The opposition leaders have been telling voters that Modi would change the Constitution and end reservations for Dalits, OBCs and Adivasis. In his Gaya rally, Modi said, “Congress and its partners are resorting to lies in the name of Constitution just to abuse me. NDA respects the Constitution. Not only BJP, but even Babasaheb Ambedkar cannot change the Constitution”.

Modi named the Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and said, Kharge had opposed the celebration of Constitution Day in Parliament by saying that the nation already celebrates Republic Day. Modi said, the opposition is “playing politics with the Constitution, but for us, Constitution is a matter of faith, and this election will ensure that those who are against the Constitution will be punished”. In his Purnea rally, Modi tried to link the Constitution issue with Sanatan Dharma. He said, “Those who abuse Sanatan Dharma should listen carefully…80 to 90 per cent of the members in the Constituent Assembly who made the Constitution were Sanatanis, and those Sanatani members supported Babasaheb Ambedkar in the drafting of a great Constitution.”

Modi said, the Constitution is the ‘raksha kavach’ (protective armour) for the rights of backward castes, Dalits and Adivasis, and it is the guiding force for our nation’s progress. He said, it was the Congress which tinkered with the Constitution when it was in power, and BJP would never do such a thing. The Prime Minister alleged that those who have become frustrated after realizing that they would lose in this election, are now trying to spread misinformation. “They are misguiding the voters as part of a conspiracy to strike fear in the minds of people”, the PM said. Modi said, “The very people who are now crying hoarse about protecting the Constitution are the ones who insulted Babasaheb Ambedkar when he was alive. “The Congress even suspended the Constitution when it proclaimed Emergency in 1975”, he said.

Modi raised the Constitution issue because opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Tejashwi Yadav, Mamata Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav and Asaduddin Owaisi have been harping on this issue in their meetings. Owaisi alleged in a rally in Aurangabad that Modi is speaking about four castes only because he wants to abolish reservation clauses in the Constitution. Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray and Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav also alleged that Modi is aiming at winning 400 seats only because he wants to change the Constitution. Congress leader Ashok Gehlot said, no matter what guarantee Modi may give about not changing the Constitution, people are not going to trust him.

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav countered by challenging Modi to take action against those BJP leaders who have been openly saying that the Constitution will be changed if BJP wins 400 seats. Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera alleged that if BJP won the elections this time, democracy would come to an end and India would become Russia. Khera alleged BJP would change the Constitution, curtail freedom of speech and throw opposition leaders in jail. I have named all these opposition leaders because they are speaking in the same tone. This seems to be part of a sustained campaign. It is because of this that Modi told in his election rallies that the Constitution is supreme, he has full faith in democracy, and there is no intention to put an end to it. Merely Modi saying this will not end this smear campaign. Opposition leaders know that the people of our country greatly value democracy and freedom of speech.

In 1975, Indira Gandhi had clamped the Emergency and had throttled democracy by throwing all opposition leaders in jail. The people of the country showed her and her party the door in the 1977 general elections. No leader will have the courage to repeat the same act now. As far as Modi is concerned, the present democratic electoral system suits him fine. He was elected thrice as chief minister of Gujarat, and he won the Lok Sabha elections twice with a clear majority. His third term is almost certain. Then where is the need for change in the Constitution? The persons who will want a change in the Constitution are those who are repeatedly being defeated in the current democratic setup. Only those persons will seek change, whose chances of winning have been eliminated by Modi. There is a Hindi proverb: “Ulta Chor Kotwal Ko Daante”. That is why, these leaders are not only trying to create a scare about the Constitution but are also questioning the EVM method of polling and counting of votes.

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