Monavvar Alam - India
In the process of his recurring election campaigns of all hues and levels – be it central, state or just district level elections, it is unfortunate how badly he has trampled the image and dignity of the post of prime-ministership under his ever-ready electioneer’s feet. In the recent ongoing state-level Assembly election in Gujarat he has crossed all the limits.
The final result will come out on December 18 and it how well the ruling BJP has exploited the context and the campaign content to offset the winning chance of its rival. Unlike earlier elections in other state, Modi has been more hyper in Gujarat as it happens to be his home state and he has made it a prestige issue to win this election by hook or by crook.
In spite of all his efforts, the anti-incumbency feeling in the state is so strong that chances of winning this time seems to be very thin. Along with anti-incumbency factor it betrays a sense of nervousness in BJP on how to counter the twin damage of senseless and highly mismanaged demonetisation and GST in Gujarat. That realization of a likely defeat pushed a panic button in the party and made the BJP campaigners even more vitriolic.
Although ,from the start, the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) under the leadership of PM Modi has been using all sorts of fair and foul means to show down the main opposition party and its arch rival in the state, Indian National Congress and its leader Rahul Gandhi, but their vitriol-filled campaign hit a new low with PM Narendra Modi suggesting that Pakistan was trying to fix the polls and that the authorities in the neighbouring country would like to see Ahmed Patel (a famous and prominent Muslim and Congress leader of Gujrat) as the chief minister of the state. Not only that, Modi also went to the extent of accusing former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of Congress Party of anti-national act.
This way by suggesting that the principal opposition party is in tandem with Pakistan he has redefined the Opposition as the enemy of the country without any basis or logic. It is highly outrageous to cast such baseless aspersions that the former prime minister, who is also a renowned economist, held secret talks with Pakistan over the Gujarat elections. But when it is done by the existing prime minister himself, it is quite insulting for the whole country. PM Modi seems to be so hell bent on doing dirty politics and making unsubstantiated and lose comments that he doesn’t want to leave any stone unturned in order get some edge over his rivals. In such a milieu who cares about civility or dignity?
Thinking people in India has been watching the coarse language and low-level of the political rhetoric in the Gujarat campaign with shame and disgust and have raised their voices against it but roller coaster ride of Modi and his followers goes on unchecked and unencumbered by any sense of responsibility.
In fact, there has been a systematic effort to troll, abuse or intimidate anyone in public life – actors, thinkers, writers, and politicians – who is critical of the prime minister. There are now a large number of paid or unpaid Modi-Bhakts (Devotees) spread all over the country who are 24/7 busy hitting on people who raise voices against PM Modi and his actions.
They can be seen anywhere both online and offline in public sphere. In the BJP’s new lexicon, anybody who is against the party or PM Modi is anti-national or Pakistani. The BJP leaders such as Yogi Adityanath (the Chief Minister of state of Uttar Pradesh), Giriraj Singh, Kailash Vijayvargiya and BJP spokespersons GVL Rao and Sambit Patra – they all have kept the nationalist vs anti-national rhetoric alive through their sheer lung power and not letting other speak their minds.
Polarisation of the entire society has been the new poll mantra of the BJP. Hence, it didn’t come as surprise when the prime minister has said the very thing himself. He has called Manmohan Singh, Hamid Ansari and Mani Shankar Aiyar (all Congress leaders) as seditious, anti-nationals or fifth columnists – men who are part of a Pakistani conspiracy to interfere in an Indian election.
In fact, throughout his election campaigns ever since he became prime minster, Modi has always used bizarre half-truths and innuendo. However, this time he seems to have forgotten the distinction and fact these unsubstantiated allegations against opposition parties go beyond mere coarseness of dirty politics and low-level rhetoric and undermines the very parliamentary system of the country.
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