Narendra Modi on Uniform Civil Code in India
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PM Modi’s Call for Uniform Civil Code: A Step Towards Equality or a Political Move?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently made a strong case for the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India, stating that the country cannot function with a dual system of separate laws for separate communities. This statement, made during an address to booth-level workers of the BJP in Bhopal, has sparked a wave of reactions from various quarters, with some viewing it as a step towards equality and others as a political move ahead of the upcoming elections.

The UCC, a divisive issue that has often been met with reservations from several minority communities, is now at the forefront of the country’s political discourse. The Prime Minister’s push for the UCC comes at a time when the political calendar for the next year is packed with Assembly polls in five states and the 2024 General Elections. It also follows the 22nd Law Commission of India’s recent call for fresh suggestions from various stakeholders, including public and religious organisations, on the UCC.

During his address, PM Modi urged the Muslim community in India to understand which political parties are instigating them to their detriment. He argued that if there is one law for one family member and another for a different member, the household would not be able to function smoothly. The same applies to the country, he said, questioning the feasibility of a dual system.

PM Modi also criticised his political opponents for using Muslims to further their interests at the cost of the community’s well-being, particularly that of the Pasmanda Muslims. He reminded his audience that equal rights for all citizens are mentioned in the Constitution too.

However, the push for the UCC has not been met without opposition. Congress general secretary KC Venugopal asserted that PM Modi should address concerns regarding poverty, inflation, and unemployment before focusing on other matters. Other opposition leaders accused PM Modi of bringing up the UCC issue due to the upcoming elections and said that he was trying to distract people from “real issues” in the country.

The UCC is one of the major fundamental planks that the BJP has termed its “core issues” left to be addressed and implemented. The party has backed the UCC since its inception and even during Jana Sangh days. While a BJP government in Uttarakhand had formed an expert panel to implement the UCC, the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government in Madhya Pradesh — a state that goes to polls this year — has also spoken about constituting a similar committee.

The road to implementing the UCC may be a tough one, but PM Modi’s recent address leaves no doubt about his intent to bring the UCC sooner rather than later. Whether this move will be seen as a step towards equality or a political strategy remains to be seen.

Written by Neelesh