Politics of hatred

The ongoing election campaign in the country is getting more and more vitiated by words and statements that can do serious harm to politics and society.

They all relate to the communal fault lines in society and can be considered as deliberate attempts to aggravate them and take electoral advantage of them by creating suspicion, division and hatred.

The detestable statement about cutting Modi to pieces, claims that it was only Muslim soldiers who won the Kargil war and calls to take revenge for Muzaffarnagar deaths were bad in themselves.

They were condemned widely and taken note of and disapproved by the electoral authorities.  But the divisive campaign has worsened with warnings and threats being issued to the country’s main minority community.

A BJP candidate from Bihar, who is a known Modi loyalist, has warned that those who are opposed to Modi  will have to go to Pakistan after the elections.

He is unrepentant about his statement. The VHP’s old rabble-rouser Pravin Togadia called upon Hindus not to allow Muslims to buy land in Hindu-dominated areas and forcibly take over such property.

The RSS also told Hindus to vote 100 per cent or risk becoming history. Unfortunately, the response of the BJP leadership to these statements is not sufficiently strong and convincing.

The party has made pro forma claims of distancing itself from them and Modi has said he disapproved of irresponsible statements.

The people who made such comments have not been reprimanded. In the case of Togadia the party only cited his subsequent denial which itself was false because there is recorded evidence of his call to evict Muslims from their houses.

The BJP has claimed that it has based its election campaign on good governance, end to corruption, economic growth, creation of employment and other issues.

It had projected Modi as the leader who can decisively act to achieve these goals. But the recurring appeals to communal and sectarian passions by some elements in the party create doubts about the party’s commitment to its declared agenda.

Modi’s words and positions have also sometimes given this impression.

When many speak in different languages and adopt different postures on sensitive issues it does not give credibility to the party’s positions and strategy.

In the popular view, they might point to hidden and unacceptable agendas.

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