Kathua, Unnao rape cases add more worries to BJP

Kathua, Unnao rape cases add more worries to BJP

The brazen misuse of administration and the eagerness of its functionaries in shielding the accused in two sensational rape cases have added to the woes of the BJP that is already facing the wrath of Dalits and farmers.

Entering the last leg of its term before the party jumps into election mode, the BJP government is already saddled with protests in Andhra Pradesh for special category status and in Tamil Nadu on Cauvery Management Board. Prime Minister Narendra Modi faced 'black balloon' protests across Tamil Nadu on Thursday during his one-day visit while social media was on fire with #GoBackModi posts.

Though no BJP leader has come out in the open to discuss how the latest developments would affect their prospects, party insiders admit that the rape cases in Jammu Kashmir's Kathua and Uttar Pradesh's Unnao where one of its MLA is an accused have come at the most testing times and it has a multiplying effect on party's morale when coupled with the Dalit and farmers protests.

In its defence, the BJP is seeking to highlight the fact that Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad's election agent spearheaded the Kathua agitation against the filing of chargesheet and the Unnao victim not naming MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar in her first statement.

With the protest pitch on the rise, the BJP is also questioning why the Opposition was silent about the gangrape and murder of a Class V student last month highlighting that the accused were from the minority community to blunt the Opposition. Incidentally, almost all accused were arrested in the case.

Some of the BJP leaders, however, see an eerie similarity with 2013 when the then Congress-led UPA faced people's ire just one year into election, as it faced corruption charges and anger over the sensational 'Nirbhaya' rape case. BJP benefited from these in 2014 and some believe it could be the Opposition's turn now.

Party leaders feel that the Opposition campaign mocking Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet theme of 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' following the rape cases and rising instances of crime against women would have an impact.

The delay in taking action against BJP MLA in Unnao case has put UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the BJP in the line of fire while the presence of two BJP ministers in Jammu and Kashmir government at a Hindu Ekta Manch function in support of accused in Kathua will have an adverse impact, they believe.

Seizing the opportunity, Congress president Rahul Gandhi called for an impromptu night vigil at India Gate on Thursday midnight which saw an impressive turnout.

BJP leaders were eager to target Gandhi's initiative on TV debates but at the same time, none of the seniors was heard addressing the issues. Questions are also being raised about the silence of women MPs in BJP while some in the Opposition highlight how BJP's Dalit MPs came together to pressurise government to counter Supreme Court's order on SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.  

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