Pre-Election Strategy of the BJP
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s extremist party-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had got a land sliding triumph in the Indian elections 2014 on the basis of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan slogans. Therefore, since the Prime Minister Modi came to power, he has been implementing anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan agenda with the support of fanatic coalition outfits.
As regards the victory of the BJP in 2014 elections, a majority of the Hindus had felt pleasure, because Indian elections based on media campaign against Islam, Muslims and Pakistan enabled BJP hardliner Modi to become Indian prime minister. Whereas, the Muslim community in India had felt alienated, frightened and perturbed, as most of them believed that they had been effectively disenfranchised.
Undoubtedly, Muslims were already aware of Narendra Modi’s agenda to reduce the Muslim community in India to second class citizens, had felt nervous and gloomy. Muslim anxiety in India was multiplying due the fact that during the election campaign, Hindu majority was mobilized on ‘hate Muslim’ slogans and ‘anti Pakistan’ jargons, while the incessant and unjust Indian propaganda against Pakistan was beyond anybody’s cognition, which still continues unabated. It simply speaks of Hindu deep seated animosity against Pakistan and Pakistani public.
Anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan approach of the BJP and Indian Prime Minister Modi could be judged from two developments. Encouraged by the election-victory of the BJP, on May 28, 2014, in a provocative act to disturb communal harmony among different religious communities in India, Rashtriya Hindu Andolan, a little known Mangalore-based Hindutva group and activists from various right wing groups organized a protest in Mangalore in front of the office of Deputy Commissioner by demanding the authorities to ban the morning Muslim call to prayer (Azan) across the country.
Besides, various developments like unprecedented rise of Hindu extremism, persecution of Muslims, assaults on Muslims, including their places of worships and property by the fanatic Hindu mobs, inclusion of Hindu religious books in curriculum and ban on beef and cow slaughter clearly show that encouraged by the Hindu fundamentalist outfits such as BJP, RSS VHP, Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena, including other similar parties have been promoting religious and ethnic chauvinism in India by propagating the ideology of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) which is the genesis of Hindu terrorism.
It is mentionable that on May 27, 2014, during his meeting with Pakistan’s former Prime Nawaz Sharif who went to New Delhi to participate in the oath-taking ceremony of the India’s Prime Minister Modi proved faultless, because Modi raised baseless issues of terrorism as pre-conditions to advance the Pak-India dialogue to resolve various disputes, including the core issue of Kashmir. He said that slow pace of trial of against the terrorists regarding the Mumbai 26/11 terror case, being held in Pakistan—Islamabad should take action against the culprits in this respect, and should stop cross-border terrorism in India.
Modi forgot that on July 19, 2013, the Indian former home ministry and ex-investigating officer Satish Verma had disclosed that terror attacks in Mumbai in November 26, 2008 and assault on Indian Parliament in January 12, 2001 were carried out by the Indian government to strengthen anti-terrorism laws.
However, continuing false flag operations, on Setember18, 2016, New Delhi staged the drama of the terror attack in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) at a military base in Uri, close to the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan.
After the Uri episode, without any investigation, India’s top civil and military officials, including their media started propaganda against Pakistan by accusing that the militants who targeted the Uri base came from Pakistan’s side of Azad Kashmir and the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba controlled by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) were involved in it. Under the mask of the Uri base attack, India created war-hysteria against Pakistan and started mobilization of troops near the LoC, while claiming surgical strikes on the Azad Kashmir.
But, the myth of Indian surgical strikes was exposed, when in a statement, DG of Pakistan’s the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lt. Gen, Asim Saleem Bajwa stated: “The notion of surgical strike linked to alleged terrorists bases is an illusion being deliberately generated by India to create false effects. This quest by Indian establishment to create media hype by rebranding cross border fire as surgical strike is a fabrication of truth.” He repeatedly stated that Pakistani troops have been giving equal response to Indian unprovoked firing across the LoC.
In fact, with the assistance of Indian secret agency RAW—by arranging various false flag operations—at Indian Air Force Base in Pathankot on January 2, 2016, at a military base in Uri, at Baramulla etc., the BJP-led regime of Modi deflected the attention of the world from the uprising in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) owing to the US-led West’s double standard. Other aim behind was to increase the vote bank of the BJP by getting the sympathies of Hindus. By manipulating the false flag terror attacks, the BJP-led Indian Prime Minister Modi has also accelerated war-hysteria against Pakistan and instructed Indian forces to continue shelling across the LoC and Working Boundary, which have killed many innocent civilians inside Pakistani side of Kashmir and other nearby villages.
And since July 8, 2016, Indian security forces have martyred more than 1000 innocent persons in the IOK, who have been protesting against the martyrdom of Burhan Wani and for liberation of their land.
In this connection, in order to win the general elections 2019, Modi and the BJP-led coalition of the extremist parties are, again, propagating the ideology of Hindutva by targeting Muslims and Pakistan. Hence, pre-election strategy of the BJP needs attention.
Notably, under the caption “Narendra Modi favourite for 2019 Lok Sabha elections, say US experts”, Indian leading newspaper Hindustan Times wrote on March 14, 2017: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emerged as a clear favourite for the 2019 general elections after the BJP’s landslide victory in assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, top US experts on India have said. It was a big win for the BJP. Its candidates won with much larger margin of victory than compared to the two previous winners–BSP and Samajwadi Party.”
Similarly, under the title “Why Narendra Modi Should Be Elected Again the PM of India in 2019”, Mohammed Asif opined in the website Lindinden.COM on October 30, 2016, “In 2014, a history was created when Narendra Modi was elected as the prime minister of India. Since he was elected by the great mass support, he is considered among the most popular leaders ever born in India…Despite of so many critics–from Arvind Kejriwal to Rahul Gandhi…There is much roar…Narendra Modi could win the election in 2019.”
Nevertheless, following a well throughout plan; BJP is playing anti-Muslim/anti-Pakistan card to gain votes of a majority of Hindus. Earlier BJP intended to create fissures in Muslim voters by blowing up “Triple Talaq” (irrevocable divorce), issue aiming to get votes of Muslim women, but the move turned to be counterproductive. Resultantly, BJP is focusing on Hidnu votes by creating a series of anti-Muslim and anti Pakistan controversies as seen in Jawher Lal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi and Ali Garh Muslim University (Abdullah Mustafvi) Alighar.
The same card would be played in Jamiya Miliya Islamiya, Delhi and Usmaniya University, Hyderabad in next few months, where Pakistan is also likely to be maligned.
The controversies of JNU and Abdullah Mustafvi were created to implicate Islamabad through a well-deliberated media campaign. In the recent past, Pakistani and IOK’s journalists were invited on the talk shows and efforts were made to mould their point of view. It is expected that they would be invited again to confront Indian journalists on the above mentioned issues.
Continuing anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan approach, the pre-election strategy of the BJP is also to create a rift among the leaders of Kashmiris.
Regarding pre-election activities of the BJP, an analyst remarked, “This needs to be taken up as an urgent campaign around the country, a campaign that is inclusive of all whose hearts beat for the nation. And one cannot wait until the dates of the next elections are announced to start this campaign. It is not hard to imagine that the electoral process and this campaign are intimately intertwined. The BJP’s Hindutva card is its chosen pathway to electoral victory”.
Nonetheless, we can conclude that although tactics have been changed, yet like the elections of 2014, pre-election strategy of the BJP for the general elections of 2019 is based upon the anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan slogans.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations