Modi is back to dirty trick by trying to divide Hindus and Muslims in UP
BJP has a history of making divisive remarks during key elections.
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during a speech in Fatehpur, Uttar Pradesh, on Sunday, said: “Ramzan me bijli aati hai, toh Diwali me bhi aani chahiye; bhedbhav nahi hona chahiye (when electricity is available on Ramzan, then its supply should be ensured during Diwali as well. There shouldn’t be any discrimination.” He added: “If there is a kabaristaan, there should be shamshaan too.”
The knee-jerk statement is clearly symptomatic of the BJP fearing losing its grip over UP, India’s most politically important state and which could well give an indication of the things to come in the general elections of 2019.
Moreover, Modi’s polarising remarks are not new. He has a history of doing that. Time and again, he and the BJP have tried to polarise important elections, particularly when the party feels it is on a sticky wicket.
During the Bihar Assembly elections in 2015, Modi sought to pit the Dalits and backward classes against Bihar’s Muslims. He said during an election meeting in Buxar: “These leaders are making a devious plan. They are conspiring to take away 5 per cent reservation from Dalits, mahadalits, the backwards and extremely backwards and give it to a particular community.” He added: “I come from an extremely backward class and understand the pain of having been born to a poor woman. I will not allow this to happen. I pledge to protect the rights of Dalits, mahadalits and the backwards.”
The trend is clear, although the articulating mouths may differ. Various leaders in the past have done this and the message every time has been unambiguous: create a communal divide between Hindus and Muslims.
During the Bihar elections, the BJP as well as party president Amit Shah were aware of an impending defeat, and they thus came out with the communal card.The BJP and Amit Shah keep the communal card handy at all times. (Photo: PTI)
Shah said: "Agar galti se bhi BJP ye chunav har gayi, galti se bhi, jay parajay toh isi dharti pe hogi, lekin patake chalenge Pakistan mein (if the BJP loses this election by mistake, even by mistake, victory or defeat will unfold here, but fireworks will go off in Pakistan)." The statement was made during an election meeting in Raxaul, East Champaran, 210 km from Patna.
In other words: Vote for the BJP so that Pakistan does not get to celebrate Diwali.
The party has been notorious for such tactics, with sometimes lesser leaders also throwing their hat in the ring in the hope of currying favour with the party leadership. And they have been rewarded.
During the 2014 general elections, BJP leader Giriraj Singh said: "Those who did not vote for Narendra Modi should be sent to Pakistan." Though the Election Commission banned him from campaigning, Giriraj won the elections from Nawada and was handsomely rewarded: he got a Union ministry berth.
During the West Bengal Assembly elections, the BJP ran a highly virulent and divisive campaign. However, it backfired as the results showed. It was the same during the Bihar polls. This time, the BJP is playing the same card in Uttar Pradesh. Let’s see if it works in the party’s favour.