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Editorial

‘Infiltrators'

Just on the eve of second phase of on-going general elections, one Qurban Ali, an Indian citizen made a complaint to the police station Hazarat Nizamuddin against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for making statements prejudicial to national integration and violative of provisions of the Representation of the People Act 1951, at Banswara, Rajasthan at a public rally on April 21, 2024. Mr Modi deliberately used a derogatory language that insults religious feelings of the minority community, promotes enmity between Hindus and Muslims and creates a super-charged situation for communal flare-up. It brazenly violated the Model Code of Conduct. Who bothers about Qurban Ali’s FIR against PM at a New Delhi police station? Nobody. At least PM’s cheer leaders may mock at it! As for Modi’s party—Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—they do hardly attach any importance to criticism to their supreme leader. They have money power, they have muscle power and overall the central government agencies are at their command to terrorise opponents. So they could do whatever they like.

The brazenness of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vilification of India’s largest minority group made clear he sees few checks at home or abroad on his absolute power. Modi called Muslims ‘infiltrators’ in his election speech to voters in Rajasthan to consolidate their orthodox Hindu constituency. He further claimed that if ‘the Congress party comes to power; it aims to distribute even the gold and mangalsutra (a sacred thread for married Hindu women) to the Muslims who have more children’. Even after communal propaganda ‘Muslims have more children’ had been busted time and again as not only being communal but also having no basis in facts or reality, this communal propaganda continues unabated. Modi made a naked communal appeal for polarising the society to derive extra-mileage in electoral race. The speech was inflammatory by any standard and it was circulated widely on-line in addition to being broadcasted on dozens of TV channels with a clear purpose of creating an atmosphere of fear before polls.

With his power at home, almost secured despite some anti-saffron swing in some BJP bastions after the first phase of poll, and his Hindutva-first vision deeply entrenched after inauguration of Ram Temple at Ayodhya, Mr Modi has set his sights in recent years on a role as ‘a global statesman’, riding India’s so-called economic and diplomatic rise. No doubt BJP stormtroppers and cheerleaders enjoyed his hateful and racist remarks against India’s 200 million Muslims and got doubly enthused to carry on election war. Strange it may seem red carpets remained rolled out abroad for this man leading the world’s largest elected autocracy.

For one thing he could not have made these comments during election campaign unless he believed he could get away with it. Maybe, it could be sign of anxiety that his personality cult or for that matter his standing with voters is not as firm as believed. This could be just a reflexive expression of the kind of divisive religious ideology that has fuelled his party’s political aggression from the start. He wants to create history of his own by leaving a legacy that is distinctly different from that of the old Congress leaders who made a secular constitution after British colonial rule.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission of India has reportedly taken note of the complaint of alleged violation of the Model Code of Conduct by Prime Minister Modi and forwarded it to BJP President J P Nadda seeking their response. It may sound ludicrous but it is Indian parliamentary democracy. Well, the Commission did a balancing as they would also ask Congress President Kharge to take action against their leader Rahul Gandhi for alleged violation of MCC.

26-04-2024

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Vol 56, No. 46, May 12 - 18, 2024