“We Won’t Change Reservation, Won’t Let Anyone Else Touch It”: Amit Shah To NDTV

As the Great Indian Election began with 102 seats in 21 states and Union Territories polling in the first phase, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the BJP will never change the caste-based reservation policy and won’t let anyone else touch it either.  

In an exclusive interview with Newsbust India, Mr Shah said the BJP is hoping for its best-ever performance in southern India in this election. “Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Kerala, Andhra (Pradesh) and Karnataka, we will perform strongly in all these states. This is the first time when (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi’s popularity in the South has reached a point where it will convert into election results,” he said.

Mr Shah said the BJP had improved its vote-share in the South in both the 2014 and the 2019 general elections, as compared to the earlier years. “But we had not reached the level of winning seats. But this time, we are confident that many of our colleagues will be elected there this time,” he said.

Responding to a question on the Opposition’s allegation that the BJP plans to change the Constitution if it returns to power with a strong majority, he replied, “They are linking this with reservation and saying this in a roundabout way. I will answer this directly. In 2014, we (NDA) had the majority required to change the Constitution, in 2019, BJP had absolute majority. But we never tweaked reservation. And I am making it clear, we will never tamper with reservation and won’t let anyone do it either. This is our commitment to the people. Modiji has worked the most for the betterment of Dalits, tribals and backward classes.” 

The Home Minister said the BJP has used its majority to water down Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, abolish triple talaq and bring the Citizenship Amendment Act. “We have not used it to stop reservation. It is the Congress that has a legacy of misusing majority. Indira Gandhi used the majority to impose Emergency, to choke democracy. We used our majority to ensure 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and state legislatures. The people know they have no issues, so they are trying to evoke sentiments, but I don’t think people will be misled,” he said.

On the Opposition’s charge at BJP over Electronic Voting Machines and the electoral bond system, he said, “Their parties have also received donations through bonds. Is that extortion as well? Rahul Gandhi must tell the people, yes, we have also extorted. And the donation they have received in proportion to the number of MPs is more than what we got. They don’t have an issue, there is no allegation of corruption against us. So they are trying to create confusion. They won’t be successful. I have travelled across the country. Everywhere, people are ready to vote in support of Prime Minister Modi.”  

On the government’s war against left-wing extremism, he said, “There is no change in the BJP’s commitment. Terrorism and Naxalism are not democratic ways and should be eradicated. We welcome those who lay down arms. Security forces will respond to those who don’t.”

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