BJP Leaders’ Divide & Conquer Campaign: Methods Differ, Hate Remains The Same
In this rabid news cycle, it is hard to keep track of who spews the most venom but here is a list of the top contenders.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claims ‘sabka saath sabka vikaas’, but their political speeches tailored to rile majoritarian Hindu support are aimed at inflaming communal tensions and threaten India’s minority Muslim population.
In this rabid, relentless news cycle, it is difficult to keep track of who spews the most venom but here is a list of the top contenders:
The Prime Minister is subtle and careful in his speeches about directly hitting out against Muslims, riding the platform of strengthening the so-called ‘Hindu pride’. But he is prepared to denigrate India’s minority communities when he attacks the opposition.
Alluding to Rahul Gandhi’s decision to contest from Wayanad in Kerala, Modi said, “Hindu community is aware now. It is evident from the fact that one has to contest a seat where the minority is majority.”
The Prime Minister is othering Muslims here along with implying that they don’t deserve to be represented.
At a rally in West Bengal the BJP president said, “Infiltrators are like termites in the soil of Bengal…”
Shah referred to migrants from neighbouring Bangladesh which has a Muslim-majority and said, “Bharatiya Janata Party government will pick up infiltrators one by one and throw them into the Bay of Bengal.”
As if that wasn’t enough, he also said, “We will ensure implementation of NRC (National Register of Citizens)… We will remove every single infiltrator from the country, except Buddha, Hindus and Sikhs.”
This makes no mention of what will happen to Muslims and Christians. Their absence from his statement speaks volumes about their condition under the BJP’s rule.
The BJP minister, who is often caught on camera asking BJP’s critics to ‘go to Pakistan’, recently called for a ban on all green flags as they “… tend to create hatred… and gives one a feeling of being in Pakistan.”
Did he forget a) green is one for the four colours in India’s flags and b) you cannot ban a colour on a whim. Not only is his remark grotesquely communal, as the colour green is associated with Muslims, it also fuels enmity with Pakistan in the face of India’s already deteriorating relations with the country.
He also begrudged the Muslim tradition of burial after death and said, “… You need a yard of land even after you die… If you say you cannot chant Vande Mataram, this nation will never forget you.”
Not just in life, Singh’s hatred for Muslims follows them after their death. To disguise his bigoted sentiments and justify it, Singh brings up hyper-nationalism.
Ranjeet Bahadur Shrivastava:
The Uttar Pradesh BJP leader said, “… Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made attempts to break the morale of the Muslims. Vote for PM Modi if you want to destroy the breed of Muslims…”
He added, “… the party will bring machines from China to shave 10-12 thousands of Muslims and later will force them to adopt Hindu religion.”
Shrivastava’s comments are probably the most direct and hate-fuelled tirade against Muslims in recent past. He not only calls for mass religious conversion but also threatens genocide. He is asking for votes by promoting the baseless, illogical fear of minorities taking over the country.
Gandhi was recently barred from campaigning for her threats to Muslims voters. She had said, “If Muslims come for some work after that (not voting for me), I will think ‘what difference does it make’…”
She did not just stop there; in another instance Gandhi explained how she plans to systematically discriminate between villages based on the percentage of people from each village that voted for BJP.
She had said, “The village where we get 80 per cent votes is A… 60 per cent is B… 50 per cent is C and the village… The development work first happens in all A category villages… then comes B and only after … we start with C…”
This goes against the basic tenant of democracy where the elected represents the people are bound to serve their constituents despite the latter’s decision on the ballot.
The Karnataka Senior BJP leader said, “We will not give Muslims ticket in Karnataka because they have not believed in us…”
Referring to a Congress MLA Iqbal Ansari, Eshwarappa added that even if Ansari wishes to get a BJP ticket, he would have to “sweep the floor of our office…”
Similar to Maneka Gandhi’s quid pro quo statements, Eshwarappa claims only Muslims who believe in the BJP ideology can represent the party. The “sweep our floor remark” also reveals Eswarappa’s thinking that those who sweep floors are somehow inferior, and that representation of Muslims in the state legislatures and the parliament is not important.
It is important to note here that BJP’s ideological master RSS ultimately believes in creating a ‘Hindu state’.
PS Sreedharan Pillai:
Speaking at a rally, PS Sreedharan Pillai had said, “(Opposition) are saying our soldiers have to… count of the dead, their caste, religion, etc. If it is Islam… If you remove their clothes you will be able to know.”
The BJP Kerala president, under the garb of hyper-nationalism, referred to a horrifying practice reported to have been used at times of communal riots. It gives us an insight into the BJP leader’s thinking process.
Pragya Singh Thakur:
In an interview, Thakur said, “We had removed a blot from the country… I climbed atop the structure and broke it… We will make sure that a Ram Temple is built at that site.”
Thakur’s claim of being directly involved in the demolition of Babri Masjid stands on shadowy ground, as she has never spoken about it publicly before her moment in the sun. However, the truth doesn’t matter in such a case because the intent is to stoke majoritarian sentiment against Muslims.
When the BJP had announced the Malegaon blast accused as its Lok Sabha candidate from Bhopal, she had called the election a “Dharam Yudh”
The Uttar Pradesh chief minister was barred from campaigning for 3 days after he referred to Muslims as “green virus” and also said “If the Congress… have faith in Ali, then we too have faith in Bajrang Bali.”
Yogi reveals his islamophobic and bigoted self through the first remark. His electoral promise is simple, effective but leads to volatility and is highly poisonous to Indian harmony. Invoking Gods betrays his desperation to appeal to voters by pitting Hindus against Muslims.
Time and again, politicians have proven to be either silent accomplices or vocal propagators of creating religious division to bag majority votes. One shudders to think of the consequences of such a communally charged and divisive election campaign.