- At Delhi Cycle Walk launch Amit Shah pushes for citizenship law support
- Mr Shah demands people dial BJP phone number to register their backing
- Home Minister also accused Congress, AAP of playing "vote bank politics"
The BJP's missed call drive to stack up support for the controversial citizenship law, which has fueled protests across the country, got a booster shot today as Home Minister Amit Shah attended a public event in Delhi. Each person in his audience was asked to dial 8866288662, the phone number for the BJP's drive on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
Those dialing the number would deliver their message of support directly to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amit Shah told the hundreds present for the launch of the 200-km Delhi Cycle Walk.
"For vote bank politics, the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have created an atmosphere as if everyone in the country is against Modi-ji. Arrey Rahul Baba (Rahul Gandhi), instead of speaking on a mic, go to the mohallas (neighbourhoods) and see for yourself who has popular support," Mr Shah said.
With that, he segued into the missed call drive. First, he asked: "Friends, those of you who are here, how many have mobiles? No...don't just raise your hands - hold up your mobile phones. Even those at the back..."
Did everyone have their phones, the BJP chief asked.
"So I will now speak out a number that will send your support straight to Modi-ji. I will say it twice...it is a 10-digit number. So dial 8866288662."
He repeated the number and then urged: "Have you got 10 digits? Now please dial the number? Done?" Another repeat of the number, just for good measure.
"Get your friends, family, relatives to dial this number and make a missed call in support of Narendra Modi. This missed call will open the eyes of those who do vote bank politics. Within two days this missed call number will cross 50 lakh," declared Mr Shah.
The number was given out by the BJP to get people to register support for the citizenship law. Apart from Mr Shah, the BJP official handle as well as several leaders shared the number.
But recently, the appeals took on interesting forms.
Many accounts on Twitter shared the number sounding like lonely women "waiting" for a call.
Then came the offer of a free Netflix subscription by dialing the number, which was roundly rejected as "fake" by the streaming service. "This is absolutely fake. If you want free Netflix please use someone else's account like the rest of us," said Netflix in a statement.
There have been protests across the country against the religion-based citizenship law, which protesters say violates the constitution and discriminates against Muslims. The government says the law will help non-Muslim migrants from three neighbouring nations become Indian citizens if they fled religious persecution and entered India before 2015.
The BJP has accused the opposition of fueling the protests.