Pre-election strategy of the BJP

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Sajjad Shaukat

INDIAN Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s extremist party – Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – had got a landslide triumph in the Indian election-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 election, a majority of the Hindus had felt pleasure, because Indian election 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.
Besides, various developments like unprecedented rise of Hindu extremism, persecution of Muslims, assaults on Muslims, including their places of worship 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 parties such as BJP, RSS VHP, Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena, including other similar groups, have been promoting religious and ethnic chauvinism in India by propagating the ideology of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) which is the genesis of Hindu terrorism.
Continuing false flag operations, on Setember 18, 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 Pakistani side of 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 started mobilization of troops near the LoC, while claiming surgical strikes on Azad Jammu & Kashmir. But, the myth of Indian surgical strikes was exposed, when in a statement, DG of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lt. Gen, Asim Saleem Bajwa said: “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.”
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. Now, in order to win the general election-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 of the international community.
Notably, under the caption “Narendra Modi favourite for 2019 Lok Sabha election, 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 election 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 Smajwadi Party.” 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 Hindu votes by creating a series of anti-Muslim and anti Pakistan controversies as seen in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi and Aligarh Muslim University (Abdullah Mustafvi) Aligarh.
The same card would be played in Jamia Miliya Islamiya, Delhi and Usmaniya University, Hyderabad in the 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. Pursuing anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan approach, the pre-election strategy of the BJP is also to create a rift among the leaders of Kashmiris. 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 election of 2019 is based upon the anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan slogans.
—The writer is freelance columnist based in Lahore.

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