Addressing the Lok Sabha for the first time after his re-election yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi quoted former Union Minister Arif Mohammad Khan who had resigned after Rajiv Gandhi government reversed the decision of the Supreme Court in the controversial Shah Bano Case by enacting Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986.
Supporting PM Modi’s stand, Khan said that PM Modi has given a clear cut message and asserted, “The Prime Minister has referred to my interview to give a message that for how long any section of the people, I am not talking about any particular community, can allow itself to be deceived by the power-wielders. It is a clear cut message.”
Adding further, he said he was pressurized to withdraw his resignation. “Six years ago, during a TV interview, I was asked whether any pressure was brought upon me to take back my resignation (in connection with the Shah Bano case). I said yes. The day I resigned and left my resignation in the Prime Minister’s Office, I disappeared from my house and spent the night at a friend’s house”, Khan recalled.
He added the next day, when he reached the Parliament, he was persuaded by Congress leaders Arjun Singh and Narasimha Rao. “The next morning when I reached the Parliament, the first person to meet me was Arjun Singh. I have great respect for him. He spent almost an hour with me. He repeatedly told me that morally you are absolutely right but politically it is going to become inconvenient for the party and the leadership if you consider.”
“After several others, Mr. Narasimha Rao was the first person who came to this room and sat with me. He told me ‘Tum bahut ziddi ho. Shah Bano ne bhi apna stand badal liya hai’ (You are too stubborn. Even Shah Bano has changed her stand),” he added.