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Impartial Approach

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In ‘agreeing’ to pass the bill on job reservation for upper castes with an overwhelming majority in the Lok Sabha, the opposition parties contrarily made a lot of noise opposing it. They accused the Modi led government of bringing the law merely to score brownie points with the electorate, as the General Elections are impending. And, by the same logic, except for the four or five MPs for whom it didn’t matter, all of them extended support in the hope that the larger opposition numbers in the Rajya Sabha could be used to stall it on technical grounds without seeming to be anti-upper caste.
Whatever the fate of the bill in Parliament, or the Supreme Court where it will inevitably be challenged by some contrarian group or the other, it represents an important element in PM Modi’s governance that was actually much derided during the debate – ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’. The general narrative of the opposition has been that this political plank of the NDA was by and large betrayed in the past four plus years, but a closer examination would reveal otherwise.
The most notable aspect of the PM’s political approach has been a brave disregard for sectional interests when formulating policy, particularly on the economic front. The impact of it, good or bad, has been on all individual citizens, not any particular group or region. Be it demonetisation or GST, it affected everybody as an Indian. The Ayushman Bharat scheme is the first major step towards ‘universal’ health care. Even contentious initiatives, such as the law against instant Triple Talaaq, or the just legislated Citizenship Bill, have upheld principles regardless of the impact it would have on political equations. So strongly held are the opinions against Modi by the Muslim community that it is very unlikely women belonging to it will vote for him, despite benefiting from the law. But he did not choose the time-honoured path of appeasement merely to seem ‘secular’, which is an article of hypocritical faith for many parties.
The damage that the Citizenship law will have on the BJP’s prospects in the North-East is very real, as for ‘locals’ in Assam, Meghalaya, etc., the refugees from Bangladesh are seen not as oppressed minorities but as ‘Bengalis’. Mamata Banerjee’s opposition to the exclusion of Muslims is based on her need to placate her votebank, not uphold a very important principle based on simple common sense.
It is quite clear that even while entering electoral mode, the PM has the ability to put national interest above everything else. Why should anybody object to that?