Looks like Modi Government has put this law in cold storage, to cut further losses ?
It’s now been more than a year since the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 has been passed in the Parliament of India, but the Narendra Modi government has not issued the rules for implementing this law, despite facing all the protests across the country, especially the Shaheenbhag protests in Delhi, the Government was hell-bent in defending the law and also used this as a polarizing issue in the Delhi Assembly elections. No less than the home minister of India Amit Shah had championed this bill. Yet there seems to be a re-think on this law, and when recently, Amit shah was asked about this, he said the law is not being
implemented due to Covid. When everything from restaurants to theaters are open, Covid can’t be the real reason for not implementing CAA, in this article of reading between lines, let’s see what could be the reasons.
One reason could be that the government is spooked by the bad press it got across the international media & its consequences especially from the investment’s point of view in lieu of the declining economy. But the Modi government’s track record does not suggest this may be the main reason, It could be due to the backlash it received from the Muslim nations such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, etc where Modi has cultivated careful relations and also received many honorary awards which no other Prime Minister garnered.
But more than these countries, it could be Bangladesh with whom the relations due to CAA were looking to get worse, and the Modi government may not want to be in a situation where the only country with which India has strong ties in the neighborhood to the extent that all the land boundary settlement has been settled to be jeopardized. Already China is fishing in troubled waters in Nepal and Sri Lanka. It is not in India’s interest to have a ridge with Bangladesh and give another opening to China. Also, the Prime Minister is set to visit Bangladesh in March 2021 to mark the 50th Independence Day of Bangladesh, its a prestigious day for both the countries, and any further controversial rhetoric on CAA during the West Bengal elections which are scheduled in February 2021 could be a spoiler for this event. In addition to these reasons, there is also the NRC fiasco in Assam, where the BJP government enthusiastically implemented the SC ordered NRC, only to come up with a list where the number of Hindu’s with no paperwork were more than the Muslims, forcing the state BJP unit to disown their own NRC.
It is difficult to pinpoint one particular reason for the GOI to backtrack on CAA, but probably a combination of all these reasons and realizing, that proceeding with this could boomerang in multiple ways ranging from economy, foreign relations, domestic backlash, and even electoral setback in Assam, probably forced the hand of Narendra Modi and Amit shah to slowdown on CAA.