PM Modi asks NDA leaders to back CAA strongly, says no reason to feel defensive

New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) Muslims have as much rights as others have and the present government caters to minorities in the same way it does to the rest, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted on Friday, asking NDA leaders to strongly rebut the opposition's charge that the CAA discriminated against the community.

At a strategy meeting of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leaders on the day Parliament's Budget Session started, sources said, Modi stated that the ruling alliance has no reason to feel defensive about the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), which has drawn nation-wide protests, as his government has done nothing wrong.

Union minister and LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan, a BJP ally, told PTI that Modi said at the meeting that Muslims have as much rights as others have in the country to reject the opposition's charge against the government over the CAA.

The nation belongs to Muslims as much as it does to others, Modi said, accusing the opposition of spreading confusion among them about the law.

Opposition leaders have dubbed the CAA 'discriminatory' and said they will raise the issue of nationwide protests against it in the session. They have accused the Modi government of arrogance in making no effort to reach out to anti-CAA protestors.

Minorities are as much 'ours as other citizens are', Modi said, according to another leader, and he asked the leaders of the ruling alliance to aggressively take on the opposition's charge that the amended citizenship law discriminated against Muslims.

The NDA meet also passed a resolution applauding Modi for taking various initiatives in the North East, such as the signing of the Bodo agreement and settlement of Bru tribe members in Tripura, the passage of the CAA in Parliament, and the opening of the Kartarpur corridor.

Besides senior leaders of the alliance, Union Home Minister Amit Shah also attended the meeting.

The NDA is united and stands behind the prime minister like a 'rock', Paswan said.

The resolution said that the nullification of Article 370, which gave Jammu and Kashmir special status, has given a new dimension to its development.

Referring to local polls in Jammu and Kashmir, it said the elections have led to devolution of power in the union territory, 'realising the dreams' of Mahatma Gandhi as he stood for decentralisation.

The resolution also praised Modi for the government's decision to give ownership rights to residents of 1797 unatuhorised colonies in the national capital. PTI KR/JTR KR ANB ANB