BJPs’ Communal Rhetoric and Vote Bank Politics


M Shamsur Rabb Khan


The leaders of BJP/RSS love to stoke controversy or make audacious statements as if they are above law or the current governments are far from taking any stringent action against them. The political rhetoric under Narendra Modi has transformed from open challenge to threat and from threat to intimidation, mostly directed at Muslims. In February, Mohan Bhagwat, the RSS chief proudly claimed his organization would prepare an army in three days compared to Indian Army which could take six months to do so.

Now BJP’s Bihar unit chief Nityanand Rai and an MP from Ujiarpur made another controversial, communal statement a rally on 9 March 2018 at Narpatganj: “Friends, I want to tell you clearly that this battle here is serious. If Sarfaraz secures a victory, then Araria will become a hub of ISI. If Pradip Singh wins, this place will remain a hub of patriots”. It is very obvious that he indulged in ad hominem to secure Hindu votes. How can Araria become a hub of ISI if a Muslim wins? Linking Indian Muslims with Pakistan or ISI is the first lesson in patriotism, the latest trend of patriotism as defined and dictated by the RSS and BJP.

In November 2017, Rai stoked controversy when said that Modi had done a lot for the development of the country, including demonetisation and GST. "If anyone raises eyebrows at Narendra Modi, break his hands and, if need be, even chop them". Later he apologized but this is the trick of right wing leaders, first to cause damage, and then to go for rapprochement. Creating a cult figure out of Narendra Modi is one step in elevating him to the level of worship like a deity is the ultimate goal of snatching power. Religion, mind you, has nothing to do with such threatening rhetoric.

In April 2014, Giriraj Singh, a minister in Modi cabinet and an MP from Nawadah, kicked a controversy when he said “Those opposing Narendra Modi are looking at Pakistan, and such people will have place in Pakistan and not in India”. Mr. Singh, compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Ram. This is the height of political flattery. Since Pakistan, and rightly so, is an arch enemy and carved out of India, linking Indian Muslims with Pakistan serves a greater political purpose, and as it increases the level of hatred for Muslims among Hindus, the gains for BJP is immense.

In June 2016, BJP leader Sadhvi Prachi in her provocative statement said that while India was already getting "Congress Mukt now it should be made Muslim Mukt". The statement was aimed at triggering enmity between two communities and telling the Hindu masses that Muslims are unwanted and undesirable since she better knows how to make India Muslim free. 

In December 2014, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, another minister in Modi cabinet made highly inflammatory statement at a public meeting at Dwarka, New Delhi when she said “that they (voters) must choose between ‘Ramzadon’ (those born of Ram) and ‘haramzadon’ (illegitimately born). She went on to say Muslims and Christians are the sons of Ram and if they don’t vote for BJP they are illegal sons. The abusive language and the tone and tenor of her speech was aimed at making the Hindus believe that Muslims could be legal only if they vote for the BJP.  

In December 2014, Sakshi Maharaj, an MP from Unnao, called Nathuram Godse, the killer Mahatma Gandhi, a "patriot and nationalist" in the Parliament. On 6 January 2015, at a public meeting in Meerut, he urged Hindu women to produce at least 4 children to protect Hinduism in India and said Muslims practice polygamy and thus have a high birth rate. This echoed what Narendra Modi, in September 2002 during his Gaurav Yatra, had said: hum panch, hamare pachees (we five, ours twenty five). If such persons are in the government, can we expect sabka saath sabka vikas or this slogan fits only when Muslims, either by threat or by intimidation, must follow BJP brand of politics.

In early May 2016, Nitish Kumar, our Chief Minister thundered at Varanasi: “We take (the) resolution to make Sangh mukt Bharat, sharab mukt samaj (RSS-free India and liquor-free society)”. In February 2018, on Bhagwat’s controversial statement about raising a Hindutva army in three days vis-à-vis Indian Army in six months, Nitish Kumar defended RSS, calling it as an ‘organisation of citizens.’ “If any organisation is telling that it is ready for protection of country’s border, what comment I should give? I do not think any sort of controversy in it”. How can someone like Nitish Kumar change his conscience with the change of party? But this is politics where opportunists continue to seek avenues for survival.

What do all these provocative speeches imply for? Almost all the inflammatory statements are directed towards Muslims which directly contradicts what the Prime Minister often claim of ‘sabka saath sabka vikas’ and the ‘achche din’ which are entirely hollow and nothing more than a political gimmick. Why targets Muslims? Well, it helps secure and consolidate Hindu votes, and vey surprisingly, the BJP always mocked at the Congress for vote bank politics. And why link us with Pakistan? Either to make an internal enemy by alienating Muslims from political and social platforms or subjugating us to follow by force. We can fight Pakistan like any other citizen to save the integrity of our nation. Finally, if Pakistan is such a bête noire, why not these leaders tell the Prime Minister to go for an all out war to finish the headache once for all?


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