BJP to cash in on PC arrest, Article 370 in state polls

There are clear indications that the BJP will use to the hilt its recent decision to nullify Article 370 and the arrest of Chidambaram in the INX media case. (Photo credit: PTI)

As the first round of assembly polls begin this year, the BJP has gone all out with the anti-corruption plank, with many raids and crackdown on politicos belonging to opposition parties, former home minister P Chidambaram being the major one.

There are clear indications that the BJP will use to the hilt its recent decision to nullify Article 370 and the arrest of Chidambaram in the INX media case.

The anti-corruption narrative helps the BJP jog the public memory about corruption cases like Adarsh scam of Maharashtra and Robert Vadra's land dealings in Haryana, which put the spotlight directly on the Congress party. Both states go to polls in the next three months.

Political analyst Rasheed Kidwai, Visiting Fellow, Observer Research Foundation (ORF) says that the abrogation of provisions of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir will pay off rich dividends to the BJP in assembly polls in Haryana, Maharashtra, and Jharkhand as the sentiments of national integrity resonate with a large number of people.

He nevertheless feels that the arrest of Chidambaram could be a "double-edged sword" for the BJP.

"The BJP will try to pass on Chidambaram's arrest as a major anti-corruption measure. But this can also boomerang. The BJP has already inducted a number of leaders against whom corruption cases were lodged or pending like Mukul Roy, Himanta Biswa Sarma. Once the spotlight is on corruption, BJP being the ruling party will be more open to scrutiny and attack by an array of Opposition parties," said Kidwai.

However, the BJP can go to town projecting the detaining of a former Union minister for home and finance as an example of its zero-tolerance policy towards corruption.

In April, in the run-up to Lok Sabha polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that while he brought the corrupt leaders to the doors of jail in the last five years, he will ensure they are sent inside in his next term.

The BJP termed Chidambaram’s arrest as an example of "law catching up with Sonia Gandhi's courtier" and said Congress was synonymous with corruption when its leaders defended Chidambaram. "When in power, it looted the country left, right and centre," Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said.

Modi's address to the Indian diaspora in France on Friday saying the noose tightening on corruption, nepotism, the loot of public money and terrorism in the 'New India' also affirms BJP's next electoral strategy for the coming days.

In the same address, Modi also hailed his government's decision to abrogate Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir saying in New India, there is no provision for "temporary".

Earlier during an internal meeting, BJP chief and Home Minister Amit Shah is said to have highlighted to its leaders the public support that the government's decision on Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) enjoys. The BJP will also organise Jan Jagaran Abhiyan on Article 370 at 370 places.

As electioneering gains momentum for the three states from next month, the twin issues are likely to dominate the political campaigns.

This is the first major electoral exercise after the Lok Sabha elections that returned the ruling BJP to power with a massive majority for the second time.

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