BJP woos youth as CAA protests spiral

BJP woos youth as CAA protests spiral

Students protest against  Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), in Aligarh. (Credit: PTI)

As youths, the bedrock of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s electoral support since 2014, are out in the streets, top BJP leaders have gone into overdrive to woo the BJP’s hitherto core constituency and to quell the unrest among students.

BJP is keen to win back the segment all the more as the results of state elections in last one year show a dip in its popularity, starting from Gujarat in 2018 to Jharkhand in 2020, reducing the footprint of the saffron party in eastern, western and central India.

According to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Youths constitute 34.8 per cent of the total population of the country as per the 2011 census.

And hence even while taking strict action against CAA protestors in cities, BJP has attempted to de-hyphenate this from the protests in campuses since the outrage over Jamia violence.  So while the Congress and the Communists are being accused of fomenting trouble, the “youths are being misguided”.

All the more after the recent violence in JNU violence, Home Minister Amit Shah and a host of government ministers were quick to berate the incident and call for action while one minister, an alumni of JNU went to the extent of saying that there was “no tukde tukde gang” in the national University when he studied there.

On Sunday, Amit Shah in Madhya Pradesh's Jabalpur recalled steps like skill India, start-up and stand up programmes for youths started by Modi government to buttress the point how the youths are at the centre stage of Modi governance.

Addressing a gathering primarily of youths in Belur Math in Kolkata on Swami Vivekanand Jayanti, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tried to dispel ‘misinformation about CAA by “speaking to young friends” and accused Opposition of misleading youths.

The Prime Minister also said it was the duty of the youth to make people aware of the importance of CAA.

“I'm happy that today's youth is clarifying the lies about CAA. Our youth is also raising its voice on the persecution of minorities that is rampant in Pakistan,” Modi said.

The PM had also tried to reach out youths in his last Mann Ki Baat on December 30, saying the next decade will see an active contribution from those born in the 21st century and the new generation even courageously question the system itself in the event of the system not responding properly, they get restless. Modi’s remarks that came amid large-scale protests in campuses appeared taking note of these agitations.

Parallels are already being drawn between protests in campuses and on CAA with 2011 youths protests against UPAII government, which the NDA II will like to avoid anyhow as it comes in the very first year of Modi 2:0 government prompting some to comment that the government has for the first time got a real opposition—this time in the youth.

BJP has conducted door to door campaign and held intellectual meetings to clear “misgivings” on CAA. There is a view in the party that there is a need to reach out to youths on the issue.

Concerns over the situation in the country in wake of CAA also resonated at the five-day all India Executive Committee meeting of RSS in Indore which nearly 400 representatives of over two dozen different organizations affiliated with and sympathetic to the Sangh participated. These included VHP, ABVP, BMS, SJM, BJP, Laghu Udyog Bharti, Bajrang Dal and Durga Vahini.

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