PM Modi calls verdict ‘historic’; Cong too welcomes it, in damage control bid.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court ruling striking down the practice of triple talaq on Tuesday has come as a major victory for the BJP-led NDA ahead of Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh in November.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the court verdict, calling it “historic”, and tweeted: “Judgment ... is historic. It grants equality to Muslim women and is a powerful measure for women empowerment.”
As the Modi government claimed credit, the Congress Party, with the contentious three-decade-old Shah Bano case hanging like an albatross around its neck, “welcomed” the ruling and went into damage control mode.
The BJP’s aggressive stance against triple talaq and the court’s decision to ban the practice that violates the principles of gender justice and equality is expected to benefit the party in the 2019 general election. The decision also somewhat silenced the Opposition, mainly the Congress’ relentless branding of the BJP as an ultra-right wing outfit, stoking communal sentiments. It also was a major boost for the BJP’s now-famous slogan “development for all, appeasement for none”.
The verdict should also help the BJP to make deep inroads into the women’s votebank, particularly those belonging to the minority community.
“The judgment has given the right to crores of women to live with equality and dignity. This marks the beginning of a new era for women who can now live with self-respect,” BJP president Amit Shah said.
For the RSS, the Sangh’s big brother, “the day of judgment should be celebrated as Islam saved from orthodoxy”.
It may be recalled the BJP had aggressively raised the triple talaq issue just before the Uttar Pradesh polls.
The Opposition, particularly the Congress, which had wanted to keep Muslim orthodoxy in “good humour” during the election campaign, had refused to come out openly against the Islamic divorce practice and had accused the BJP of trying to “politicise the issue”.
The UP poll results clearly indicated the BJP strategy to raise the triple talaq issue was a masterstroke as the party decimated the Opposition, winning 325 of 403 Assembly berths.
Speculation was rife that a majority of Muslim women and the Muslim intelligentsia had actually voted for the BJP.
With the BJP celebrating the “day of the judgment”, Congress’ spokesman Manish Tewari, in a bid to minimise the damage, told the media that “if a religious practice is contrary to modern times, efforts should be made to eliminate it with the community’s consent”.
He of course welcomed the ruling and said it was a “a constructive, progressive decision that must be welcomed by all right-thinkers”.
With the blot of the Shah Bano case still haunting the Congress, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi merely “welcomed” the court’s move, saying “I congratulate the women who fought for justice”.
Former Union minister Kapil Sibal, the lawyer for the Muslim Personal Law Board, said: “We hail the judgment, it protects personal laws and at the same time deprecates the practice of triple talaq”.
With the Congress headed for another round of “introspection”, the court’s verdict is also likely to raise the BJP’s stock among the liberal intelligentsia.