PKONWEB Report — With parliamentary elections months away, India’s ruling BJP party appears gung ho at repeating its 2014 diabolical tactic–galvanize right-wing support base by whipping up nationalist sentiments, convert realpolitik by opening up religious faultlines to come back to power.
Two currencies have therefore been floated: Anti-Pakistan and anti-Muslim narratives in a cold-start followed by a first strike pattern in the developing campaign ecosystem.
These narratives sandwiched the burger PM Narendra Modi have been eating and wants to eat again. More so as he and his Hindutva-oriented BJP came under pressure after the party lost control over three critical states — in the state elections held last month.
Several independent observers in India and across the Atlantic say the states poll loss has taken the crest off Modi wave and diminished the prospects of the party returning to power in the center, despite macroeconomic gains.
Subsequently, the anti-Pakistan and anti-Muslim spin doctors within the ruling party have been winked to go for it.
Modi is also under pressure from the moderates as he let go of PM Imran Khan’s September offer for talks like a runaway bride; he’s bent out of shape after President Donald Trump mocked his library in Afghanistan comment this week–reminiscent of a “goodbye” rather than a “cya” after series of dates with a Manhattan girl; and his steely admission in a New Year interview to ANI that ““It will be a huge mistake to believe that Pakistan will mend its ways after a war. It will take a lot of time (to befriend the girl next door),” manifest his stream of consciousness that Pakistan one-tenth of India’s size isn’t a pushover (not a one-night stand).
Therefore, going forward we can expect an uptick on narratives that draw knives out–Modi wants a decade in power to squat a “Nehru” decade sans his secularist and pluralist vision of a united India and replace it with saffron hue that’s instilling intolerance and stoking religious bias to the hilt.
Many including India’s tinsel town the Bollywood is feeling the pinch despite daily breeze from the Arabian sea cooling Mumbai’s glitzy neighborhoods and evenings. Days after veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah commented on intolerance in India, a BJP MLA said people who feel threatened and unsafe in India should be bombed–a caustic comment that would have invoked a red card anywhere else.
“My personal view is that those who say they feel unsafe and threatened in India should be bombed. Give me a ministry and I will bomb all such people; not even one will be spared,” said BJP MLA Vikram Saini.
The BJP maverick without naming the veteran actor, slammed all those people who complain about intolerance in India and said he will bomb such people himself. Ironically, such comments are sending media stalwarts in a tizzy, dividing them into camps too, and resultantly saner voices are gradually finding themselves backstage actors. Shah is one of them.
Last month, the veteran actor was embroiled in a controversy after he expressed concern over safety of citizens in the country. He also said he fears for his children in the “India of today” following a brutal incident of mob violence in Bulandshahr.
Shah’s comments received sharp criticism on social media platforms also–these days happy hunting ground for growing Hindu nationalists in India. Many including actor Anupam Kher and Baba Ramdev were critical of Shah’s comments. The Uttar Pradesh Navnirman Senam went on to the extent of booking air tickets to Pakistan for the 68-year-old renowned Muslim actor. And the Union Minister called Shah’s remarks as part of a larger conspiracy at work to give India a bad name.
The controversy turned uglier in India’s media after Pakistani Prime Minister cited Shah’s comments to take a jibe at Modi’s government over intolerance against minorities in the country. “Will show Modi government how to treat minorities,” said Khan.
The remark came after Modi’s government did not responded positively to several unilateral, confidence-building measures taken by Khan’s government, including the opening of the Kartarpur corridor which allows Sikh pilgrims to visit their holiest site in Pakistan without a visa.
Meanwhile diversionary steps have been increased: tension along the Line of Control (LOC) — dividing the two sides of the disputed former princely state of Kashmir — has escalated, and exchange of fire intensified.
In the first week of new year, Pakistan army shot down two Indian spy drones on its side of the Line of Control. There’s growing concern in Islamabad that escalation in violence along the LoC before the polls in May can’t be ruled out, specially considering the recent threat by the Indian army chief and nationalistic environment being unleashed in the Hindu Belt—Modi’s bastion of power.