Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday backed Prime Minister Narendra Modi by reiterating that the BJP alone will win 370 seats and, with the help of alliance partners of the NDA, the ruling alliance will cross the 400 mark to form the government for the third time in 2024.

Speaking at a global business summit here, Shah also said the Citizenship (Amendment) Act will be implemented before the coming Lok Sabha polls after issuing the rules for it. The process for granting Indian nationality to the beneficiaries will be rolled out soon after that, he added. “Our Muslim brothers are being misled and instigated (against the CAA). The CAA is only meant to give citizenship to those who came to India (till December 31, 2014) after facing persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. It is not for snatching anyone’s Indian citizenship,” he clarified to clear apprehensions.

Shah insisted there is no suspense over the outcome of the Lok Sabha polls, perhaps responding to skepticism of the Opposition over Modi’s expressing confidence during a reply to the Motion of Thanks on President Droupadi Mumu’s address, that BJP will touch the 370 figure and the NDA combined will win 400 seats. The Union Minister scoffed that the Congress and the other Opposition parties too have resigned to the fact that they will have to occupy the Opposition benches only.

“We have abrogated Article 370 (of the Constitution, which gave a special status to the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir). So we believe that the people of the country will bless the BJP with 370 seats and the NDA with over 400 seats,” Shah told the gathering.

White Paper

Shah also gave the reason over why government chose to bring a white paper now by stating that it was necessary as the country has the right to know what mess the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) left behind when it lost power in 2014. “At that time (2014), the economy was in a bad shape. There were scams everywhere. Foreign investment was not coming. Had we taken out a white paper at that time, it would have given a wrong message to the world,” he explained.

“But after 10 years, our government has revived the economy, brought foreign investment and there is no corruption at all. So it is the right time to publish the white paper,” he emphasised.

On a buzz that the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), headed by Jayant Choudhary, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and some other regional parties are going to join the NDA ahead of polls, the Home Minister remarked the BJP “believes in family planning but not in politics”. When asked particularly about SAD which was part of the NDA but had walked out, Shah stated, “Talks are going on but nothing has been finalised.”

Shah was of the view that the general elections would be fought on the plank over development and parties that were indulging in sloganeering, and not between the NDA and the INDIA Opposition bloc.

Meanwhile, speaking on the Ram temple inauguration in Lok Sabha, Shah said India’s culture cannot be alienated from Ramayana. “The date of January 22 marks the beginning of the journey of great India. This day paves the way for Maa Bharti (mother India) to take us on the path of becoming Vishwaguru (world leader). It was a day that marked the hopes, aspirations and accomplishments of crores of devotees,” Shah told the House.