Modi's graveyard barb in UP's Fatehpur shows he's unworthy to be India's leader

The policy failures of this government mean the only politics it's left with is the communally insensitive kind.

 |  5-minute read |   20-02-2017
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In Fatehpur, Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a statement that could only be called the "politics of dog-whistle". During an election campaign speech, he said: "If a kabristan (burial ground) is built in a village, then a smashan (cremation ground) should also be constructed there."

He continued: "If electricity is provided there in Ramzan, it should also be given in Diwali," Modi added, took a long pause and continued: "If electricity supply is there during Holi, it should also be given during Id. There shouldn't be any discrimination. It is the duty of a government to be unbiased. Injustice shouldn't be done to anybody... it should never be on the basis of religion or caste or class."

That bang in the middle of an ongoing multi-phase election in a state as crucial as Uttar Pradesh does the prime minister find the need to utter words that are not only communally insensitive, but practically call to arms for a peculiar kind of politics which has, let's admit it, defined his party and its modus operandi for a long time now, is not unexpected. However, what is appalling is that Narendra Modi is practising his politics of dog-whistle while occupying the post of the topmost elected leader in the country.

modi-fatehpur-inside_022017062952.jpg PM Narendra Modi at Fatehpur, UP. [Photo: Agencies] 

After a particularly ill-conceived economic campaign that was demonetisation, which has shrunk the economy and slowed down growth, while hardly contributing to even a sustained spike in digital infrastructure, or curbs on fake currency, black money and targets that were paraded as the intentions behind his fiscal gamble, PM Modi and the BJP have been left twiddling their thumbs. So much so that the prime minister has hardly mentioned demonetisation in his recent campaign speeches, and is carelessly inciting a vulnerable population with words that can have grave consequences.

Moreover, PM's claims that there's less electricity for the majority community during Diwalí has also been countered with government-maintained data, which clearly show that contrary to Modi's statement, more electricity has been provided during Diwali as opposed to Eid. Clearly, the PM has been caught lying in public and misleading a poll-bound state with claims that are divisive and rotten with intention to further widen the rift and deepen the climate of mutual suspicion.

With the scar of Muzaffarnagar riots still fresh in UP's memory, it is not just irresponsible of Modi to utter such words in the garb of doing away with "discrimination" that the majority community supposedly faces, it is downright violation of the Election Commission-mandated Model Code of Conduct. How does a prime minister who constantly violates the EC norms, or insinuates in his campaign speeches that Hindus are not receiving state welfare, continue to hold the highest elected office in the country?

As new scholarship expose the BJP as the party with the maximum number of candidates facing criminal charges, our PM talks of eliminating corruption from other parties. We need to ask why the PM doesn't miss a single opportunity to remind Indians of the entrenched corruption in rival political parties, while doing almost nothing to see the investigations through, and not keep dangling the issue in a protracted political carrot and stick game.

Also read: Modi is back to dirty trick by trying to divide Hindus and Muslims in UP

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