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February 17, 2020

Modi digs his heels in on Article 370, CAA

Top Story

February 17, 2020

VARANSI, Uttar Pradesh: Ruling out a rethink on decisions on CAA and Article 370, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday asserted that his government remains and will remain firm on the steps, which have been taken in the national interest, despite pressure from all sides.

"Be it the scrapping of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir or the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the country waited for decisions on these for years," he told a public meeting here during a day-long visit to his Lok Sabha constituency, reports the international media.

"These decisions were necessary in the interest of the nation. Duniya bhar ke saarey dabaon ke bawjood, inn faislon par hum qayam hain, qayam rahengey (Despite pressure from all sides, we remain firm on the decisions and will continue to remain firm," Modi said.

Provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution, which accorded special powers to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, were abrogated by the government in August last year.

Modi's tough talk assumed significance in view of protests against the CAA in various parts of the country.

Citing certain key decisions of his government, Modi referred to the trust set up for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya and asserted that it would work "rapidly".

"A trust has been formed for construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya. This trust will work rapidly," he said.

He said after setting up the trust, work on construction of 'Ram dham' will start with fast speed.

The government had recently set up the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra on the Supreme Court’s directive to the Union government to form a trust that can look into the construction and management of the temple.

The prime minister earlier launched or laid foundation of Rs1,254 crore worth of 50 projects in his Lok Sabha constituency.

He also flagged off IRCTC’s ‘Maha Kaal Express’ through a video link during his day-long visit to the city.

It will be the first overnight private train in the country to connect three Jyotirling pilgrimage centres of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, and Ujjain and Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh. Modi dedicated to the nation the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Memorial Centre and unveiled a 63-foot statue of the RSS ideologue — the tallest statue of the leader in the country.

“The soul of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay give us encouragement. We are working for uplift of Dalits, deprived and others sections. And this is what Upadhyay’s ‘Antyoday’ says - to give all facilities to last beneficiary in the queue,” Modi said. He said in the past few years, Rs25,000 crore worth of developmental projects had either completed or were going on in fast speed in Varanasi.

Roadway, highway, waterway and railway have been given top priority by the government and the Purvanchal Expressway work is going on at fast speed in Uttar Pradesh.

The prime minister also laid emphasis on better connectivity of heritage and religious sites, saying tourism will be the main source of making the country 5 trillion dollar economy. He said, “Our behaviour as a citizen will decide direction of the country in future. Country is not made by governments only, but values of people residing here.”